HPE has been working on some exciting new use cases for HPE NonStop, and so has NuWave Technologies. These cases are either currently being applied, or could easily be applied in the near future, in the healthcare sector.
One application for NonStop that HPE has been working on is employing syndromic surveillance to track public health concerns like the spread of diseases like the Coronavirus, and to predict how many supplies will be needed for a given outbreak. Syndromic surveillance, according to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), is an investigational approach where health department staff, assisted by automated data acquisition and statistical alerts, monitor disease indicators to detect outbreaks of disease earlier than would otherwise be possible using traditional public health methods. The sharing software used for syndromic surveillance is a product called Crossflo DataExchange® (CDX), which runs on HPE NonStop. In the US, a state government’s Health and Human Services division would own the NonStop systems, which would act as a hub to receive, aggregate, and transmit critical health data (see figure 1). The data is first sent to the NonStop for processing, and then it is distributed to the appropriate decision makers or analysts in public health departments. Public health officials can then use this data to make recommendations or to update public policy. As we know from the Coronavirus pandemic, sharing information such as the number of cases, geography, the number recovered, and number deceased has been critical in projecting when it’s safe to start the recovery process.
The idea behind syndromic surveillance was a post-9/11 (9/11 refers to a terrorist attack against the Unites States that took place on Sept 11, 2001) idea to determine if the United States might be experiencing a biological or chemical attack, but now it has even greater applicability for determining an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic. The idea is that emergency rooms (ERs), by sharing information, can see the early stages of an outbreak and create a model based on similar symptoms reported across many different ERs. We also see that this has applications not only in the public health sector, but also in Homeland Security and the criminal justice and public safety arenas (see Figure 2).
Besides syndromic surveillance, health information sharing also facilitates the most efficient and effective use of resources. The healthcare industry itself, even without a crisis, has a great need to share information. Some examples include preventing duplicate procedures, insuring all healthcare professionals see a common and complete picture of the patient, providing precision medical care, and preventing fraud and misuse. In short, we need health information exchange to offer the best outcomes for patients. When real-time information sharing is performed, it can provide insights to hospitals and providers on inventory requirements. It can also predict the best use of resources. In long-term and hospice care, disease monitoring enables effective and predictive case management. It streamlines collaboration between primary care, specialists, and hospital staff to insure the very best outcomes. So an important use case in the healthcare industry is the ability to share medical records across all providers involved in a patient’s care.
Healthcare providers and others involved in a patient’s care can also use CDX, the sharing component used in syndromic surveillance, to facilitate the sharing of all medical records. In this case, a clinic like Mayo Clinic or Scripps would use their NonStop systems as the central hubs to receive and send out lab results, medical history, pharmacy information, insurance information, specialist visits, and other pertinent information to the correct healthcare providers involved in caring for a particular patient (see figure 1). This way, when a patient goes to get tested or vaccinated for Coronavirus, the facility can see whether the patient has a pre-existing condition that causes them to be high-risk. It also allows practitioners to have a complete picture of a patient’s health. This, in turn, reduces healthcare costs overall due to the reduction in unnecessary or duplicate treatments, and it leads to less hospitalizations and return visits to the doctor.
Another way to share this data is with middleware. Middleware solutions for HPE NonStop can be used to provide simple and secure access to healthcare data by providers and others involved in patient care. Client-server middleware allows trusted hospitals, healthcare partners, or others in the health sector to securely access specified healthcare data that lives on a provider’s HPE NonStop server. It also allows the provider’s NonStop applications to retrieve a patient’s healthcare data like lab results, prescriptions, or insurance information, providing one-way or bi-directional data transfer, depending on the access defined when configuring the software. Server-side and client-side middleware, which are sometimes sold as separate solutions (as with NuWave), together facilitate the aggregation and remittance of healthcare data, facilitating better connectivity and therefore more informed decision making in healthcare environments.
Middleware can also be used to send patient records to a doctor or nurse’s tablet, so as they do their rounds to visit patients, the records are displayed in a visually appealing GUI, rather than in a stack of paper files, which could be lost, stolen, or damaged, and aren’t easily searchable. The patient record tablet application simply sends a REST request to NuWave LightWave ServerTM or a similar solution on NonStop, and the software translates that into an interprocess message (IPM) to send to the Pathway or standalone application on NonStop. The backend application returns a response in real time with the patient data, and the middleware translates the response from an IPM to a JSON message and sends it to the app for display on the practitioner’s tablet screen. This gives healthcare providers convenient and secure access to patient information at their fingertips.
Another exciting use case is the access to and processing of information from distributed ledger technology (DLT) companies like BurstIQ, Factom, IBM, and others (see a short list here). DLT is already being used in multiple ways in the healthcare industry, including validating COVID-19 immunity, tracking pharmaceuticals, and sourcing medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE). When there is a shortage of medical equipment at a hospital or other healthcare facility, DLT solutions are sometimes used to connect these healthcare companies with trusted suppliers who have inventory available. For those healthcare companies using NonStop, these DLT applications and data can easily be accessed using Web services solutions like NuWave’s REST-based products or HPE’s NonStop SOAP. Once the data is on NonStop, the system can process, aggregate, or analyze the data, and then securely send it to the appropriate endpoint.
According to the HIMSS healthcare IT conference, effective healthcare IT and interoperability leads to higher patient satisfaction and greater employee retention rates for healthcare workers. Good IT also gives providers more time with patients and in turn, improves overall outcomes—a great reason for those in the health sector to modernize their HPE NonStop applications!