sommai - Fotolia

CIO explains tech behind integrated healthcare systems and apps

BayHealth Development wanted integrated healthcare systems to provide a coherent experience for patients and physicians. The organization turned to the new Progress Health Cloud.

It's a familiar situation in business: BayHealth Development used different applications to serve their physicians and patients, and had no way of bringing it all together in one place to create a network of integrated healthcare systems.

To solve this dilemma, BayHealth decided the path would be via mobile and cloud.

"We agreed that we wanted to move towards mobile first," said Pam Hudson, CIO at BayHealth Development, a joint investment venture by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and John Muir Health (JMH) that focuses on infrastructure development. "Mobile was the first mantra; everything being in the cloud was the second mantra."

In order to achieve this vision, BayHealth needed "a partner that has very much a mobile-centric infrastructure and one that had the ability to integrate with all of our back-end systems," Hudson said.

She added that BayHealth also wanted "a platform that we could easily maintain and sustain because mobile apps are very hard to maintain across the various operating systems."

Pam Hudson, CIO, BayHealth DevelopmentPam Hudson

BayHealth ultimately chose the Progress Health Cloud platform, the majority of which is based on Kinvey, a backend-as-a-service product acquired by Progress Software Corp. in Bedford, Mass.

"So right now, the Kinvey/Progress platform is the heart of our public website, our member mobile platform and then it will be a part of the core of our member web portal," Hudson said.

Integrated healthcare systems aim at platforms

Hudson explained that BayHealth has used Progress' provided adapters to integrate with various platforms. For example, BayHealth has used adapters to connect with Adobe Experience Manager, as well as various Salesforce offerings, such as Salesforce's CRM platform, Marketing Cloud and its identity and access management (IAM) service.

[BayHealth wanted] a partner that has very much a mobile-centric infrastructure and one that had the ability to integrate with all of our back-end systems.
Pam HudsonCIO, BayHealth Development

Hudson explained that with the help of Progress' platform, BayHealth created integrations with all of the Salesforce offerings they used and are also in the process of creating integrations with a health information exchange (HIE) platform. Hudson said that once the integration with the HIE is complete, BayHealth will then begin to pull data from the HIE platform and, therefore, from various EHRs. Hudson said she also hopes to target the Salesforce Health Cloud and then use the market cloud within Salesforce to create a patient experience where very specific messages and outbound outreach are triggered based on individualized criteria.

Hudson added that BayHealth, with the help of Progress, has also recently integrated with InterSystems, a company in Cambridge, Mass., that provides database management and rapid application development and integration technologies.

BayHealth decided to integrate with InterSystems because the services the company offers can sustain the 4,000 different practices and 13 hospitals that make up BayHealth's network, Hudson said.

"And we'll probably grow our network this year to about 5,000 doctors and ... 17 [or] 18 hospitals," she said. "With all that throughput, we had to find a platform that could sustain the number of transactions that we wanted to push through this platform."

BayHealth lauds advantages over EHRs

The true value of Progress Health Cloud lies with its consumer component and its network of integrated healthcare systems -- features that are lacking in EHRs, in Hudson's experience.

"Our patients may see various physicians that may or may not be associated with one single organization," Hudson said. "We want to empower our members so they have their own patient record, find ways in which that patient can share that information with whichever physician or hospital that they seek for their care."

Furthermore, on the physician side, Hudson explained that Progress' platform will help them reduce duplicative tests and procedures because the product enables access to various systems and the information that resides in them in one place.

This arrangement makes it possible to provide a synopsis of a patient before that patient even arrives at a physician's office, Hudson said. In addition, notifications can be triggered and sent to that patient's primary care doctor, specialist or care team when certain key health events occur.

And because Progress can integrate various back-end systems, the platform is able to create a single way for patients or physicians to interact with applications. "[Our patient members and physicians] have no idea what's happening on the back end," Hudson said. "All they know is what they see in front of them through our web portal and our mobile apps."

Dig Deeper on Healthcare IT management and organization

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing