At this year’s HIMSS conference, there was a growing buzz about “Collaborative Care”.  And much of today’s frenzied rush to automate healthcare via Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Health Information Exchanges (HIE) is in reality to put Joe Consumer on the doorstep of Collaborative Care.  It’s not possible in fact to achieve collaborative care without  a comprehensive deployment of EHR, along with transparent and federated but secure access and exchange of health information among those needing it.

So what is this collaborative care thing, what does it mean to me, and why does Stratus care?

Collaborative care is a shift towards focusing on the whole consumer and providing levels of care which are appropriate, accurate, and cost effective.  The concept involves the consumer interacting with a network of doctors, hospitals and specialists where health information is integrated and analyzed to direct which services are appropriate to that consumer and who provides them.  The consumer plays an important role too – collaborative care is proactive, involving the consumer in health maintenance such as reminders to check sugar levels for a diabetic or monitor weight.  The consumer can interact with their health profile and provide input as necessary.  In many cases, consumers will receive care in the form of recommendations or scheduling a visit well before the possibility of a health condition.

Consumers care – cost efficiency aside, this approach reduces errors, increases the chance to prevent or capture a health situation before it becomes more serious, and increases the probability the right level of care and practitioner is on the scene when a health situation arises.

Why Stratus then?  Simple.  None of this is possible if the systems in this chain experience downtime.  If the EHR fails  the chance is high there’s information lost or being written down which can create errors or delays.  If the HIE isn’t working, there’s no information being exchanged with practitioners at the point of care.  It can be a black hole if the HIE system is down.  Think about the risk of inaccurate or incomplete information, or data not being available, and yet attempting to offer collaborative care?  It just doesn’t fly.

Stratus solves these problems with uptime assurance solutions that reduce system downtime and increase patient care effectively and efficiently.  And we’re seeing more investments in EHR and HIE including high availability requirements as ambulatory and in patient deployments realize just how important system uptime is to the overall success of their deployments and the overarching goals of healthcare reform.