Not so long ago, healthcare was something that could only be obtained in a doctor’s office or from a hospital or health system. But as the world has become more digitized, so have options for healthcare.
With the arrival of COVID-19 came the swift acceptance of innovation in healthcare, specifically the digitization of care. With lockdowns in the short-term and the imperative to keep person-to-person contact to a minimum in the long-term, patients and providers embraced technologies they may have been wary of in the past. And while healthcare has traditionally been generally slow to adopt new ways of doing things, the sector has been rocked by a proliferation of digital health technologies companies.
With COVID-19 as a catalyst, this influx of new technologies has also given rise to consumerism in healthcare. Patients have better access to specialists and more choice in general about who they want to get care from. Geographical constraints have been eliminated in a lot of cases. And for many people, the convenience of telehealth is an important factor. No need to take two buses to get across town or drive and then try to find parking – it’s all at our fingertips. The bottom line is that if your kid has another ear infection and needs antibiotics, or you have a chronic condition that needs to be monitored and managed, you have choices.
Digital health, which applies technological solutions to enhance healthcare delivery, also increases access to such care. Underserved communities and patients in rural locations, lower-income neighborhoods, and those unable to afford the costs of an in-person visit, which can include transportation, childcare, and time away from work, now have access to care like they never have before. Digital health also makes managing chronic conditions easier because more touchpoints are available, and has allowed patients to be more engaged and aware of their health with wearables and other at-home devices that measure things such as blood pressure, physical activities, and blood sugar.
But there is one major caveat: without access to medical history, lab results, or lists of prescriptions, digital health options suddenly become much less effective and considerably less appealing. Data access is the crucial missing piece of the puzzle – and data access is exactly what Health Gorilla provides.
Keep reading to learn about three of the categories of digital health supported by our interoperability solutions.
It’s no surprise that virtual care is far and away the biggest user of Health Gorilla’s solutions. The use of telehealth skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and even though it’s no longer as risky to visit a healthcare provider in person, the advantages and convenience of virtual care mean that it’s here to stay.
Healthcare IT reported in February 2022 that nearly three-quarters of patients plan to keep receiving at least some of their care virtually. This translates into continued demand for solutions that allow virtual care providers to access complete medical histories and share progress notes with other providers. In doing so, virtual care teams reduce their dependence on hospital systems for patient data.
Health Gorilla solutions enable seamless access to data from thousands of electronic medical records systems, diagnostic vendors, and care sites without technical barriers. This means caregivers have access to the right information about their patients so they can make the best possible decisions, all in a way that promotes efficiency, saves valuable time, and supports cost containment.
Heal is the provider of telemedicine and physician house call services to tens of thousands of patients – primarily senior citizens – across seven states, including Washington, Georgia, and New York. With access to their patient's complete clinical records and social determinants of health, Heal physicians have been able enhance patient care and improve outcomes.
Dedicated to data-driven care delivery, Heal uses Patient360 so physicians can review a patient's medical records with one-click retrieval from wherever they are administering care. Patients are greeted by care providers who are already fully informed on their medical history.
Automated record retrieval workflows have enabled Heal to accelerate their market expansion and get up and running in new markets much faster. And real-time updates trigger an alert to a physician if their patient visits an emergency room, so they can proactively schedule a follow-up appointment.
"Health Gorilla has been instrumental in accessing patient records in real-time,” says Dr. Justin Zaghi, Heal Medical Director, “helping us to provide high quality, data-based care."
With everyone receiving healthcare in various locations and from different providers, virtual care coordination is vital to establishing a dynamic support network that links patients with their caregivers.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an official website of the HHS, care coordination is defined as the deliberate organization of patient care activities and information sharing among all those involved with a patient’s care. The goal is safer and more effective care, and this is achieved in part by making sure the patient's needs and preferences are known and communicated at the right time to the right people.
Care coordination empowers patients and care providers and has the potential to improve outcomes for patients, providers, and payers. But obstacles remain, chief among them the disjointed nature of healthcare systems and processes that are not aligned between primary care sites and specialty sites.
Other problems, as cited by the AHRQ, include:
Health Gorilla's interoperability platform can solve all three of the problems above. By leveraging electronic health information exchange, providers and back-end staff can ensure that critical information will not be lost. With updated test results, clinical records, and notes, physicians have fewer questions about why a patient is being referred. Allowing patients to access their medical records will enable them to ask more informed questions around referrals and what they should do afterward.
It is clear that health information technology has a very important role to play in solving for some of these problems, particularly when it comes to monitoring and follow-up, responding to changes in patient needs, supporting self-management goals, and working to align resources with patient and population needs.
Health Gorilla recently partnered with LexisNexis Risk Solutions on adding social determinants of health (SDOH) data to our solutions. Through this collaboration, we will integrate four clinically-validated SDOH scores into our national Health Interoperability Platform, including medication adherence, motivation, total cost risk, and 30-day readmission probability. These scores support a diverse set of use cases and give care coordinators and healthcare professionals critical insights into the well-being of individuals they treat.
Access to this new data will also expand Health Gorilla's ability to support healthcare and community organizations by reducing data collection burdens. Applications include predictive models to measure the risk of a specific population, accurately evaluate the effectiveness of social services, and elevate how they monitor population health interventions.
Data can be used to directly address barriers to care, connect patients to community resources, improve medication adherence, and better understand changing patient needs. Read more about the partnership between Health Gorilla and LexisNexis, and learn more about SDOH in this blog.
Since 2008, IntellaTriage has provided nurse-based triage and customized workflows to home healthcare and hospice agencies nationwide. To facilitate this, nurses needed real-time access to clinical data like medications, allergies, producers, and recent encounters. Health Gorilla’s Patient360 allowed them to completely automate data retrieval, which is typically a highly manual and burdensome process. And faxes have been eliminated, so records are kept more secure.
Now, they have all the data they need at their fingertips to inform better care. Nurses don’t have to log into multiple EMRs to find old records, saving significant time. IntellaTriage can efficiently get patients to the right place at the right time.
"Our partnership with Health Gorilla allows us to greatly improve the speed and accuracy of our triage as we quickly access our patient's comprehensive medical history on the platform," says Daniel Reese, CEO.
Chronic disease management, also known as digital therapeutics, is the subset of digital health that employs evidence-based therapeutic interventions to prevent, manage, or treat conditions such as type II diabetes, congestive heart failure, dementia, asthma, and hypertension, as well as anxiety and depression.
Behavioral and lifestyle changes are driven by innovative software programs but also rely heavily upon data that must be collected and analyzed for the methodology to work. Data-driven real-world evidence is needed to inform recommendations for prevention, management, or treatment of common conditions. It is also needed to generate patient risk scores for interventions, going beyond preventative medicine to predictive care.
With people eager to take control of their health, this category of digital care is expected to reach $56 billion globally by 2025 and the possibilities seem endless.
"We really see a future where most medical conditions are treated with pieces of software," Corey McCann, president and CEO of Pear Therapeutics, told mHealth Intelligence.
Diabetes management and care is one of the earliest and more prevalent examples of behavioral interventions via technology.
Virta Health is a Type 2 diabetes management company on a mission to upend traditional treatment by providing near real-time and technology-enabled access to physicians and health coaches. More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes and an estimated 88 million people over 18 years of age are pre-diabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes is known to trigger other serious health concerns such as heart disease, kidney disease and vision loss.
Virta’s platform is clinically proven to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes or prevent its onset without medications or surgical intervention. Patient monitoring is reliant on tracking lab result values such as average blood glucose/sugar levels (HbA1c). In late 2018, Virta adopted Health Gorilla's interoperability platform and accessed the lab network to automate and scale testing operations. In six weeks, Virta was able to stop manually creating lab orders, receiving results by fax, and transcribing them one by one. A lab integration would have taken six months to complete.
Now fully automated, lab orders are triggered by Health Gorilla’s API based on frequencies and outcomes. Unusual lab values are flagged so care providers can intervene.
“Health Gorilla's API is a core component of Virta's continuous remote care platform, which allows us to provide our patients expert medical care, whenever and wherever they need it,” says Sam Reider, Virta Engineering Manager.
Health Gorilla is digital health’s single connection to a national network of aggregated clinical data. Our solutions enable provider teams to access complete clinical histories, order and review labs, and share records with other clinicians. Best of all, they do this without complex data-sharing agreements or months of disparate integration work.
By leveraging Health Gorilla’s Health Interoperability Platform (HIP) for integration or access via cloud platform and securely storing data in our FHIR-native database, you can:
Trusted by leaders in telemedicine, Health Gorilla’s Health Interoperability Platform was built using Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards. Integrations done piecemeal can take up to six months of engineering time, but with Health Gorilla you can go-live in just a few weeks.
Patient360 is an out-of-the-box solution that enables the retrieval of up-to-date medical records – a full history, including medications – instantly from a vast array of sources. In addition to virtual patient visits, Patient360 also gives providers a way to continuously monitor patient outcomes for any updates in treatments, lab results, or medications. It can also retrieve medical records in bulk for large groups of patients to facilitate care for clinics participating in managed care initiatives.
If you are part of a digital health virtual care provider, therapeutic application, or pharmacy, and are interested in expanding the data available to physicians or patients attached to your application, the Health Gorilla team is here to help. Visit the Digital Health page to learn more about the comprehensive plan we offer, which includes a dedicated implementation specialist and solutions architect who will work with you to configure the connection between our suite of APIs and your application. We tailor our implementation to your organization's unique clinical data workflows and provide access to the Health Gorilla development sandbox. Our team of experts is available to answer any questions that come up through the testing and validation period. If you have any additional questions or are interested in exploring a partnership with Health Gorilla, please contact us.