Healthcare information technology has evolved at a rapid pace over the past 15 years, and Shannon Marshall, Solutions Manager for Merge Healthcare, has had a front-row seat observing this remarkable transformation. In the latest issue of the RBMA Bulletin magazine - excerpted below - Marshall shares her thoughts on what is happening now in IT and what lies ahead in the future.
According to Marshall, the current trend is the focus on adding more data analytics to software. "Analytics is really telling the story of a business," she says. "It is about understanding how and why your business is performing a certain way, not just what the end results are. It's exciting to realize that while analytics really only became a major buzzword in 2011, healthcare has made incredible progress in just five years—and is now at a comparable level to other complex industries."
As an extremely data-driven company, Merge's focus on analytics is very much about how to make data meaningful and actionable for its customers, explains Marshall. Different groups will have different needs, and the beauty of analytics is how they can be tailored to answer the specific questions of the user, whether that user is a PACS administrator, a PACS user, a scheduler, a biller, a CFO or a CEO.
"At Merge, when we think about analytics, we really break it down to the piece of the business that is particular to that product, but we also use the data that is fed into those products for comprehensive overviews and real-time business tracking," she says. "The moment data is entered, it is electronically sent to Merge Dashboards™
to provide real-time overviews and reporting capabilities that span the entire enterprise."
Marshall also discusses the Watson Health medical imaging collaborative that IBM announced in June. "To have a dramatic impact on healthcare, it is imperative that providers and vendors come together to drive with a common vision," she says. "As we have in the past, Merge will strive to deliver products that improve physician efficacy and patient outcomes. This work aligns with Watson Health's aim to serve as a catalyst to help improve lives of people around the world, and help lower healthcare costs through the power of cognitive insights."
To read the full interview with Marshall, please see the RBMA Bulletin article. Member login required.