What a former member of the Soviet bloc has to offer Nashville’s health leaders

Via Nashville Business Journal »

When looking for technological advancements, few look to the former USSR, but one of Nashville’s health care leaders did exactly that when searching for a way to solve what is one of the industry’s biggest problems: interoperability.

Ed Cantwell, CEO of the Center for Medical Interoperability, recently visited Estonia to learn how the former Russian republic became a digital powerhouse.

“They designed a country that is more efficient digitally than any country,” Cantwell said of Estonia.

After gaining independence from Russia in 1991, Estonia’s fledgling government created a digital society, Cantwell said. The government created an interoperability platform that allows government records to work together.

According to government websites, Estonia created a decentralized system that links together services and databases. Since the system is open, new components have been able to connect with the system as they are developed, meaning social services, legal services, health care and voting all work on the same open platform.

In contrast, Cantwell likened America’s health care systems — with all its machines and systems that don’t talk together — to AT&T phones that could only call other AT&T users.

Interoperability is one of the greatest issues facing the health care industry, which is why the Center for Medical Interoperability launched last year with the backing of local health care giants HCA Healthcare Inc., Community Health Systems and LifePoint Health, among others. Because of the size and role those companies play locally, it’s also critical for Nashville that the health care industry follows the path of Estonia and finds a solution to the question of interoperability, Cantwell said.

“Where Nashville goes, the nation goes,” Cantwell said. “The opportunity exists really for Nashville to step up.”

Center for Medical Interoperability Moves to New HQ

Via Nashville Medical News »

In April, the Center for Medical Interoperability opened its new Nashville headquarters and a one-of-a-kind testing and certification lab in the oneC1TY development off of Charlotte Pike. The new facility’s striking interior was designed around the theme of “Follow the Flow of Data.”

The center is a 501(c)(3) cooperative research and development lab founded by health systems to simplify and advance data sharing. The center’s membership consists of health systems and other provider organizations committed to eliminating current barriers to swift and seamless communication of patient information among medical devices and electronic health records.

“The opening of the headquarters and launch of the lab are enormous steps toward addressing the difficulties that health systems share in getting medical devices and electronic health records to ‘talk’ to each other,” said Mike Schatzlein, MD, chair of the Center’s board. “All too often,” he continued, “this prevents physicians and other caregivers from having complete information about a patient readily available when they make important treatment decisions.”

The new lab serves as a research and development arm for its members to improve interoperability with the center’s technical experts and visiting engineers from industry working together to develop IT architectures, interfaces and specifications that can be consistently deployed by health systems, medical device manufacturers, electronic health record vendors and others. The lab certifies devices and software that meet the Center for Medical Interoperability’s technical specifications. Clinicians have the ability to explore the impact of technologies within the Transformation Learning Center at the lab to ensure solutions are safe, useful and satisfying for patients and their care teams.

“The lab will help bring about a ‘plug-and-play’ environment for healthcare in which there is assured interoperability and connectivity inside and outside the hospital,” said Ed Cantwell, president and CEO of the Center for Medical Interoperability.