Healthcare Has Outgrown the EHR

January 25, 2022  |  Beth Crocker  |  ,

Healthcare costs and fees concept.Hand of smart doctor used a calculator for medical costs in modern hospital

The healthcare industry is experiencing a massive technological transformation.  Accelerated by a worldwide pandemic and a tectonic shift toward telehealth and at-home care, the future of healthcare will demand the connection of multiple data sources to provide full visibility to a patient’s medical history.  At the forefront of this evolution is real-time, secure exchange of patient information.  A recent Forbes article about the Future of Healthcare Technology predicted that, “[s]ecure, HIPAA-compliant sharing of patient data and information across medical providers will be one of the most important advancements in the coming decade.”

When it comes to speed of adoption, the healthcare industry rivals the DMV. Historically, this industry has been so notoriously slow, that 9 out of 10 doctors still use the fax machine as their primary form of data transfer.  According to one industry expert, there are less than ten healthcare systems in the US that operate in a single, integrated Electronic Health Record (“EHR”). The main reason – traditional EHR’s are walled gardens by design, in part due to security and data confidentiality, but also due to the effort to monetize the exchange of data that they themselves are blocking.  

The 21st Century Cures Act changed the rules about access to patient data, and now the healthcare industry has a federal mandate to access patient data wherever it resides. The Cures Act encourages innovation of technologies designed to help patient data flow more efficiently across the healthcare ecosystem, while still maintaining patient privacy and security. It also prevents technology incumbents from blocking a clinician or patient’s access to the electronic health information stored on their systems

Nonetheless, billions are spent each year on EHR integration and yet out of six hundred health systems and more than six thousand hospitals, less than 10 have achieved full integration. Arguably, that anemic statistic fails to consider the thousands of service providers that operate both within and outside the four walls of those institutions – labs, ambulatory services, hospice care, clinician practices, and on and on – that are not integrated into their closed system. If one were to consider ancillary healthcare services that must interface with these systems, the number of systems operating in a single EHR would likely drop to zero.

While conventional wisdom might suggest that the healthcare industry will converge onto a few monolithic EHR’s; research suggests the opposite: the healthcare industry has outgrown the EHR.  Thousands of cloud-based healthcare IT vendors are entering the space to provide solutions that the big EHR vendors are either too slow or too challenged to offer.  In the meantime, the lack of interoperability across these new platforms is creating a costly and potentially deadly challenge in healthcare.  

“Healthcare providers need technology that provides instant visibility to a patient’s medical history, prescriptions, insurance coverage, and financial information, to ensure the most informed decisions, improve patient health, and reduce costs,” said Greg Stein, CEO of Shadowbox.  “Our mission is to elevate patient care and save lives by making patient information easy to access and safe to share no matter where it resides.”

Shadowbox offers real-time patient data integration at the point of care. While there are a handful of healthcare integration platforms in the marketplace that purport to be real-time, the approach relies on antiquated technology that is cumbersome, expensive, and difficult to integrate across the proliferation of new healthcare SAAS technology.  As a result, most healthcare institutions rely on a complex, tangled layer of point-to-point API’s that require an army of IT developers to maintain, and hefty fees back to the EHR providers to support and service.  The result is a Frankenstein monster of sewn-together parts that don’t work well together and greatly limit communication and automated data transfer. 

Did I mention that 9 out of 10 doctors still use a fax machine?

Shadowbox offers an entirely new approach to real-time patient data integration, that requires zero IT intervention, while driving speed, security and capital efficiency. 

Beth is co-founder and CFO of Shadowbox. She has spent over three decades leading finance teams for tech companies, including Rovi Corporation (now Tivo), McAfee, CrossWorlds Software, uCast Global, and IDG Books Worldwide and provided M&A services for public companies such as Digital Realty and PriceSmart. Her track record includes two successful IPOs and over 30 M&A transactions.

Additional articles by Beth Crocker