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How kiteworks Helps Hospitals Improve Internal and External Collaboration While Adopting EMRs

Posted by Marianna Prodan
Electronic Medical Record

The American healthcare industry is undergoing a decades-long transition from paper-based patient records to electronic medical records (EMR). EMR—also known as electronic health records (EHR)—fulfill one of the goals of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, namely, making patient records more portable and easier to share among patients, payers, and providers.

Hospitals have three major motivations for adopting EMR:

  • Improved­­ patient outcomes - EMRs make it easier for physicians and other care givers to have an up-to-date view of a patient’s status and medical history.
  • Increased efficiency - By replacing paper-based records with electronic records that can be instantly searched and shared, EMRs promise to make healthcare providers more efficient, ultimately saving time and money.
  • Regulatory incentives - Through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, healthcare providers earn payments for the adoption and the meaningful use of EHR systems.

The benefits are clear however the transition has been slow. As recently as 2012, 63% of U.S. physicians were still using fax machines to share Patient Health Information (PHI) with other physicians, providers, and payers. And fax volume has risen since then, hitting an all-time high in the U.S. healthcare industry in 2015.

Despite the promise of EMRs, incorporating them into workflows has been problematic. A recent KPMG survey found that most physicians are dissatisfied with current implementations of EMRs. Ironically, physicians find working with EMRs to be time-consuming and limiting because they don’t always integrate well with other systems.

EMR Adoption, Unstructured Data, and Challenges with Interoperability

Part of the problem involves data management. While EMRs have unquestionably improved record-keeping for structured data, too often they fail to provide physicians and other medical staff with a fast, easy, and secure way of accessing, managing, and sharing unstructured patient data.

In healthcare, unstructured data includes medical imagery (X-rays, ultrasounds, etc.), pictures, physicians’ notes, videos and data from many sensors or wearables. IBM estimates that 80% of the data in healthcare is unstructured. By contrast, structured data is, for the purpose of simplification, numbers and words that can be easily collected and classified: patient names, social security numbers, insurance information, etc.

Until EMR solutions become more efficient and effective with unstructured data, providers need a fast, easy-to-use, and convenient way to share both structured and unstructured data with internal staff but also external providers, physician groups and outpatient clinics. Currently, EMR systems struggle to work well with other IT systems inside a hospital and many have difficulty interoperating with the EMR systems of other healthcare providers.

Until EMRs can solve these interoperability problems and mirror the workflows necessary for safe and efficient patient care, healthcare providers will need to complement their EMR systems with content collaboration solutions that:

  • support fast, secure communication between departments and between the provider and the external partner organizations  
  • integrate with existing clinical workflows
  • secure both structured and unstructured data to protect patient privacy
  • help establish meaningful use

How Accellion kiteworks Helps Hospitals Share Content Securely

kiteworks by Accellion is a secure content collaboration platform that enables hospitals, health systems and other organizations to share content with internal and external users seamlessly, with the highest levels of security and control. Accellion kiteworks enables healthcare providers to extend their existing applications, content and workflows, without costly content migrations or disruptions to processes.

Here are just a few of the key features within Accellion kiteworks that enable fast, secure communication and collaboration:

  • Compliance with HIPAA

kiteworks protects PHI and other critical data with advanced security controls, including encryption of data in transit and at rest, customer-ownership of encryption keys, role-based access controls, full audit and reporting capabilities, integration with Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions, secure authentication, and more.

  • Integration with existing clinical workflows using kiteworks APIs

kiteworks supports and extends existing workflows with APIs. For example, hospitals can leverage kiteworks’ APIs to automate the collection of ECGs, EEGs and other imaging for interpretation, aggregate lab data from external labs, or exchange patient information with insurance companies to support workflows for billing.

  • Unlimited file size

The kiteworks platform imposes no file size limitations and supports even the largest medical imaging, video files and genome data.

  • A unified view of all critical content, including patient data

kiteworks enables all authorized users to access PHI and other critical data from any device and location. Instead of having to log into multiple systems to access different types of content, all content is conveniently available in a single interface.

  • Leak-proof editing and viewing for mobile devices

kiteworks enables PHI and other protected content to be viewed on mobile devices without storing unencrypted content on devices, where it risks being accessed by unauthorized parties. Photos of skin lesions or wounds taken through the kiteworks app are not accessible on the device’s camera roll. Content stored in the app’s encrypted, secure container can be wiped by the admin in the case of a lost or stolen device, or if the employee leaves the organization.

To learn more about how the kiteworks platform helps healthcare organizations improve communication and collaboration and preserve protected health information with enterprise-grade security features, please contact us.