For many physicians and independent healthcare practitioners, the optimal goal is to provide the best care possible to their patients, which includes making it as affordable and accessible as possible. Often, quite a bit of time can be spent on data entry, waiting for the results of blood tests, ultrasounds and x-rays, and patient research that another healthcare provider may have carried out already. A strong clinically integrated network (CIN), therefore, can become a valuable connection to embrace, but it’s not so simple.
What is CIN connectivity?
By definition, CIN (a clinically integrated network) is the formal correlation between healthcare providers choosing to work together for more efficient patient data sharing. It seeks to make care more affordable by preventing duplicate tests and providing valuable real-time insight into a patient’s health. There are several benefits to the voluntary agreement of a CIN between caregivers. It can help patients get better access to specialty care, save money by eliminating unnecessary testing and treatments and improve the overall clinical experience by making sure all patient and provider needs are met with an excellent continuum of care.
Technology has made CIN even more possible with the instant exchange of data among providers and across different platforms. With data aggregation programs, healthcare providers can access patient information from various sources in one secure place, often through the use of cloud-based infrastructure. It’s a valuable tool for the future of healthcare, but practitioners must keep some things in mind when setting up their CIN connections.
Key considerations to understand about CIN connectivity
Choosing to integrate a CIN through your institution is an excellent first step to building accessible healthcare for your patients. Take the following questions into consideration while developing your CIN connectivity program and solidifying connections with other providers in the community.
What data will you collect?
As part of a CIN, you will want to coordinate with all the participating groups to ensure everyone is collecting a consistent data set. This will help to make sure that patient care is thorough and consistent, but also make quality reporting easier to perform. The 21st Century Cures Act sets standards for sharing data and needs to be followed to ensure information flows freely. The United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) also guides healthcare providers on what data to share and how to exchange it.
What reports will you generate?
Undoubtedly there will be groups within the CIN that take advantage of incentives from participation in programs from CMS as well as various carriers. Each provider will be required to develop their own reports — choosing a solution that automatically generates them can save the organization time and money. Once you’ve considered where and how these reports will be submitted, APIs, interfaces and other tools can be integrated for delivery.
How will you collect your patients’ data?
Many practitioners use electronic health record (EHR) vendor-specific software to ensure data is being collected efficiently and securely. However, there are other sources of data that will need to be considered and will usually require some additional component to collect. Ie. reference labs, imaging centers, specialists. Typically the EHR vendor offers a software interface but it will require expertise to install and configure.
Where will you store the data?
The cloud is the best place to store data that’s accessible at any time, anywhere for authorized users. Cloud computing is an extremely cost-effective option for data storage, as the costs are generally much lower than what you would pay to store your data on your own servers – and it’s so easy to manage and keep secure.
How will the data be secured?
Cybersecurity is a real issue that should always be considered and adapted as risks change. Not only are cyber protections mandated by law, but they keep your patients’ privacy intact. We should also point out that data should always be backed up in multiple locations, one being accessible during a natural disaster or power outage (don’t have your backup in the same place as your live version).
How will the interface software be installed and configured?
Many healthcare organizations aren’t fluent enough in information technology (IT) to successfully install and configure their interface software. When you can’t afford to hire permanent staff, partnering with a technology service provider that can handle the entire process from start to finish, fine-tuning your entire system to ensure everything is integrated seamlessly is a good option.
Who will manage the data?
The information you collect must always remain up-to-date, accurate and organized. Managing and indexing the data after it has been gathered is also a task that can be handled by a third-party expert that can guarantee it will be monitored and tracked effectively using the latest software.
How Tangible Solutions can streamline the connection process with your healthcare organization
All of the IT required to set up a CIN in your organization will take time and a specific amount of expertise in data integration, software development and more. So it is important to have a solid data strategy in place before undertaking the task of connecting all the participants. Tangible Solutions is already helping providers like yours collect the right data and utilize the best software that will ensure a smooth transition. Take a look at our case studies to learn more about the services we can provide.
As a highly reputable and experienced technology partner, developing the best solutions for healthcare providers from multiple disciplines, Tangible can streamline your CIN connection process and more.