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Interview: Interoperability, data, standards and innovation

In our latest interview we caught up with Vijay Magon, CEO, CCube Solutions.

What is the most significant achievement for your organisation in the past 12 months?

The word “interoperability” gets banded about a lot. Most modern IT systems sign upto interoperability but few actually deliver it. Over the last few years, we’ve embraced interfacing and integration to help minimise dependency on multiple systems when looking at patient information. The CCube Solutions EDRM suite can capture, manage, and deliver a broad range of unstructured content held in many different types of documents – scanned images, Office files, PDF, multi-media, etc. EDRM can also hold structured content such as XML and HL7 messages. However patient information resides in multiple IT systems and its not always possible to get everything into EDRM. So why not get EDRM to reach out to patient information held elsewhere while retaining patient context. That’s exactly what we have achieved with CCube EDRM – fetch and display information not held in EDRM.

What is the biggest technology challenge at the moment?

Interoperability works well with users in the loop, ie. users provide the information required to link systems, eg. using a patient ID. In order to get IT systems to talk to each other and work out outcomes, we need consistent data sets across IT systems, ie. data standards. These are being adopted but most NHS sites still use older/legacy systems which lack any data standards. There is a real push towards Open Standards like HL7-FHIR – as these become more widespread, IT systems will be able to share data based on prescribed rules and provide information hidden in data sets. This also opens up significant opportunities for using Artificial Intelligence to mine data sets and unlock information and knowledge within structured and unstructured content. To achieve this, we need to ensure that IT systems are designed (or upgraded) to collect data that complies with Open Standards.

What projects are you working on at the moment and what challenges do they overcome?

We’re working with a number of our existing NHS sites on pilot projects to develop and extend use of EDRM to help deliver their digital agenda, for example:

a.       Apps that can be run on any device to show information relevant to a user on the move, eg. a clinician doing his/her ward rounds. The information displayed is relevant to the user’s role/profile. We are also looking at using Chatbots within these Apps to make it easier for users to engage with distributed data sets.

b.      Electronic Forms used on mobile devices to collect FHIR-compliant data – these are smart forms that use minimal input to automate data flows behind the scenes and rapidly display the results based on data provided by the users. The data is input using the fingers of one hand while the other hand holds the mobile device – we are no longer shackled to a mouse or keyboard! The form is linked in real-time to one or more back-end IT systems to verify data and work out results. The data collected complies with Open Standards and can be pushed into any IT system.

c.       Where simpler paper forms are still in use, how can these be used and digitised without scanning? The CCube ePaper solution allows users to use existing paper forms to complete and sign documents using an ink pen. It then converts the documents to a digital version in real-time – the user can fill out the paper form as they normally would. All the strokes made by the pen on the clipboard are captured and streamed to the host device and immediately applied to the digital document. Biometric handwritten signatures can also be captured and attached. The digital documents can then be saved as read-only documents (eg. PDF) and sent into any IT system eg. EPR, Clinical Portals, document management systems, etc. ePaper can also be used to collect FHIR-compliant data.