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Why an Open Platform?

Why do we need a new approach to digital health?

The Health and care sector is struggling to implement complex new models of care and apply the advances in AI and Big Data analytics.

Unlike most other sectors, we have not seen digital technology have the transformational effect in health and care that we have seen in sectors like finance, retail or travel.

Current approaches, which attempt to connect thousands of heterogeneous systems, simply can’t achieve the data fluidity we need.

Open Platforms

Open platforms provide a new approach based on a shared, open information model that can be implemented in all systems, allowing data to be losslessly transferred without the need for data mappings or transformations.

The difference between the conventional interoperability approach and that of open platforms is eloquently explained in this article.

In a Nutshell - what are the problems faced by present day healthcare IT?

The problems with present day healthcare IT is that it can’t  provide the data fluidity that is essential to support new models of care, Big Data, analytics and AI.

  • Current systems are obsolete, having originally been designed before the Internet became ubiquitous and the invention of the mobile phone
  • Records that are fragmented, held in multiple organisational silos in a myriad of incompatible formats;
  • Records that are fragmented;
  • Data is not available where and when it is needed - for direct patient care and secondary uses  
  • Patients cannot practically control who has access to their data and what its used for; and
  • There is inefficient service delivery and potentially unsafe care

Why can’t current approaches solve this problem?

Current approaches attempt to solve this problem by making 1,000s of heterogeneous systems interoperable with mappings between their various formats. This approach works well where you are dealing with a small subset of their data, but becomes an insoluble problem if you attempt to apply it to everything stored in electronic health records.

In order to communicate information between systems, it is necessary to “map” data sets between each respective system to and from a common format.  This is not only a huge task, it is also difficult and almost always “lossy” i.e. some data points and data fidelity is lost in the mapping.

So, whilst it is possible to create interoperability solutions, these are expensive requiring significant development work and clinical safety testing to ensure that compromises in the required mappings do not create clinical risks. In most cases, they will enable the exchange of only the minimum