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HTN Exclusive: a closer look into the new platform EMIS-X

Last week HTN announced that EMIS had unveiled EMIS-X their ‘next generation of connected healthcare technology’ platform. Here we take a closer look into the new platform and ask their CTO some questions.

Built on a cloud platform, EMIS-X is a new ecosystem that fully supports interoperability standards but goes significantly further by allowing applications to selectively share live data through cross application working.

Its built on a modular design to enable EMIS Web users to transition seamlessly to the new platform.  The system will be available for clinicians working anywhere and they will be able to see a consolidated view of key medical information across healthcare organisations using EMIS-X, partner products, other NHS systems and patients themselves, giving unique insight into patients’ medical history.

With the planned evolution to EMIS-X, the power of EMIS Web is said to be replicated and enhanced in a cloud environment. The company at its launch demonstrated the seamless integration of EMIS-X components into EMIS Web; this is said to enable a smooth transition process as users upgrade their system progressively.

We spoke with Pete Malcolm, EMIS Group Chief Technology Officer who said “We took a great deal of time understanding the evolving needs of the market to join up healthcare; as a result, the core design principles have been to create a flexible, modular, interoperable cloud based platform which is capable of supporting joined up care services such as locality wide ‘federated’ appointments to customers using EMIS-X and those using systems capable of interoperating using open FHIR standards.”

“We have considered the transition from EMIS Web as a key element of the design – there will be no ‘big bang’ – rather an evolutionary approach to ensure customers are not impacted by system changes.”

When did EMIS start to develop this new platform?

“We remain very close to our market and customers’ evolving needs. Based on this, we recognised the need to upgrade EMIS Web to meet these evolving needs and have been working on EMIS-X for over 12 months.”
We asked what the plan for EMIS-X is over the next 6 months?

“We have an exciting roadmap of products built on the platform which we will be bringing to market in 2019 and beyond. We have an internal team of over 50 clinicians and a large number of external users who are engaged in the design and testing of the platform. Using modern agile development, we are able to seek and act on feedback very quickly as we iterate the usability and functionality with the users.”

What healthcare challenges does the system overcome?

“The fundamental challenge that EMIS-X answers is joining up healthcare. We believe it is a blueprint for the future of connected care in the UK.”

“EMIS-X will create an ecosystem where multiple vendors can link information from their systems without compromising their commercial interests, using open interoperability standards. The benefits are multiple.”

“We believe EMIS-X will help to hugely improve efficiency and patient safety, while providing dramatic cost savings to the NHS.  We see millions of hours currently spent by patients and staff in repeating information at each stage of the patient’s healthcare journey being eliminated and the management of medicines in pharmacy being revolutionised by better insight and more efficient services delivered through EMIS-X.”

What does a cloud based system mean for healthcare professionals?

“EMIS-X is applicable to all areas of integrated healthcare; primary care, pharmacy, A&E, social care, hospital prescribing and community clinicians ‘on the go’. The cloud platforms enables not only ubiquity in terms of access but also the highest level of data security and resilience as well as the ability to add more intelligence into the platform through the availability of the highest level of computing power.”

At the launch the company announced new features as part of EMIS-X, one being EMIS Health Analytics their next-generation reporting platform, said to be highly scalable and using the latest in data modelling and visualisation technologies. The company said it gives users insight across clinical and administrative indicators, enabling ‘at-a-glance’ overviews of performance, with the ability to drill down to analyse areas for improvement or of specific interest. The platform helps with insights into appointments capacity and demand, prescribing analysis and referral optimisation.

One of the first developments of EMIS-X is federated appointments which allows instantaneous searching across multiple providers and systems for any available service, based on user criteria such as geographic location and availability. With federated appointments, clinicians (and for many services patients) can search not only their own appointment books, but those of every other provider in the ecosystem, dramatically improving speed, efficiency and convenience.

Another feature, EMIS-X intelligent consulting, it combines voice recognition and artificial intelligence technologies being developed by EMIS Health’s innovation lab to assist the clinician by automatically accessing and highlighting pertinent information, such as medical history, potential conditions and alerts.

The company said “This is one of the ways we test out the latest technology to see how we could make consultations more effective. Doctors can focus entirely on the patient, rather than retrieving information from the screen. It saves time, as the presenting letter, x-ray or template is automatically opened. It will make consultations safer by improving clinical note-taking and launching decision making tools, code sets and templates for specific clinical settings.”