A New Way to Manage Your Diagnosis
The Benefits of Using a FHIR-Based Platform When Diagnosing Chronic Kidney Disease
Doctor Vivian Sing is an economics professor. She has a history of depression and diabetes, which she manages by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet. A mother of three and grandmother of four, the 62-year-old prioritizes her health to ensure she can be there to celebrate her family’s milestones.
Then came the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, shutting everything down. Gyms, restaurants and shopping malls were some of the first establishments ordered to close their doors. Everyone was being affected by the lockdowns. A study found that 27.8% of American adults felt elevated depressive symptoms within the first few months of the 2020 shutdown. This is compared to 8.5% prior to the pandemic. In 2021, that number rose to 32.8% of adults–thus tripling the depression rate within the US.
By having her routine thwarted, Vivian fell into this group. With gyms closed and no workout equipment at home, she found it extremely difficult to keep up with the exercise regimen essential to maintaining her mental health. Soon, like many other Americans, Vivian was unable to keep the depressive thoughts at bay. Eventually, finding the motivation to keep up with her diet also became difficult. What was once the occasional takeout meal being delivered to her home turned into a normal occurrence. Soon, Vivian struggled with being able to manage a healthy diet.
The negative changes to her lifestyle over the past year began affecting Vivian’s overall health and previous diagnoses. When her symptoms worsened, she knew it was time to see her doctor, where it was soon discovered that she had Stage 3 chronic kidney disease.
What makes Vivian’s case stand out from most other Americans in her position is the fact that her medical center has access to Smile Digital Health, an open standard data fabric enabled by Health Level 7 (HL7®) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®), that makes the patient’s data accessible from any application that is run on it. The medical center used the app PatientShare to find Vivian’s records and the app CareNexus to develop her treatment plan. PatientShare is a standards-based platform that enables secure clinical data to be seamlessly shared in order to enable collaboration among disconnected healthcare systems, while CareNexus is a coordinated treatment planning platform aiming to improve the quality of care and management of data among patients and providers across the continuum of care.
These integration platforms provide patients with a longitudinal health record allowing for a secure, private and transparent healthcare journey. Using appSphere—a productivity suite built into the Smile platform that makes connecting and managing third-party apps to Smile easy—a patient’s data can seamlessly be transferred among programs to ensure information is accurate and correct.
This standards-based solution employs HL7 FHIR APIs and allows for collaboration across disconnected healthcare systems. The great value of a FHIR-based platform is having actionable information accessible by the right people, shared securely in a timely fashion.
From a patient’s point of view, one of the biggest benefits of this software is empowering the patient to be an active partner in their own care, by being able to view their treatment plans and personal data and even to generate their own data. For a patient like Vivian it means no more missed requisitions, miscommunication between the doctor’s office and the specialist or any of the other important information overlooked due to healthcare’s resistance to technological advancements.
In Vivian’s case, Smile’s platform enabled her data to be accessible anywhere through the applications both she and her doctors used and can streamline a patient’s healthcare journey, from the first healthcare contact to treatment, without a delay in their diagnoses or personal care plan.
Because so many providers still rely on faxes and paperwork when updating patient information, most Americans experience a delay in their treatment. This is largely a result of the healthcare industry not adapting to new technologies that, when fully utilized, can benefit Providers and Payers alike. Until that happens across the board, discrepancies in patient care will continue.
If Vivian’s medical center wasn’t using a FHIR-based platform, the outcome could have been strikingly different. Thankfully, because both her primary care physician and nephrologist were able to update Vivian’s records in near real-time, she was able to receive her chronic kidney disease diagnosis while it was still in Stage 3.