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February 08, 2022

Prioritizing Systemness in Healthcare

Mitch Mayo
Product Marketing Manager, Omnicell

In healthcare, you know it's sometimes challenging to connect diverse healthcare systems, including those involving different types of care, care settings, payer requirements, patient populations, and more. Through the pandemic, physical separation accelerated some long-awaited changes for the industry. As healthcare practices shifted to a virtual world, service continuity and cohesion became more critical. Fortunately, system-oriented technologies have also advanced, making "systemness" or systemic cooperation a more achievable goal.

From institutional operations and data management to technological resources and care providers, systemness is all the components of healthcare working together as one. All parts share a common goal and derive information from the same source. By integrating care in this way, better patient outcomes are achieved, operational efficiency is improved, and risk is reduced.

Why healthcare needs systemness

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins, medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Many medical errors are caused by a lack of critical data, whether it is information for care decisions, medication contraindications, patient histories, or other factors. Especially when organizations scale their operations, the risk of error increases. Connected and interoperable health data systems can significantly reduce medical errors. For example, the pharmacy industry's vision for the Autonomous Pharmacy illustrates how the principle of systemness can lead to greater centralized medication data, thereby reducing many medical errors.

Besides reducing risk, systemness improves the overall quality of patient care over time. Information portability allows a more comprehensive view of individuals and populations, enabling providers to make more personalized recommendations. Thanks to the centralization of data, all-inclusive health information can travel with the patient, no matter where they get treated or who treats them. With the ability to identify actionable insights from their data, organizations can deliver better care and improve operations. Then patients feel "seen" and have more trust in their care.

Adopting systemness

Based on research conducted by the Advisory Board, organizations that are well prepared for systemness capture and share data to establish baselines for performance, promote clinical standards, manage patients proactively, and enable visibility across networks. The attributes observed in organizations most likely to achieve systemness include consistent practice standards and seamless patient experiences.

Organizations can achieve systemness with a thoughtful strategy and commitment to the objective. Technology is just one component. If you're considering systemness for your organization, it's best not to relegate the effort to just your IT department. Leverage a cross-functional group across your organization to implement systemwide technology integration as a foundation for your systemness initiative.

Throughout the process, be sure to convey the value of systemness to each of your stakeholders. The benefits include better patient care, cost savings, predictable results, and reduced bureaucracy. Gain stakeholders' buy-in by framing how systemness supports their specific objectives. These groups are ultimately responsible for enacting changes that improve overall care quality, operational efficiency, and risk management.

Why pharmacy should lead the charge

In healthcare, the pharmacy is uniquely positioned to display the benefits of systemness. System-oriented technology, such as data intelligence, central pharmacy dispensing, point of care dispensing, IV compounding automation, and 340B management software, can tie together various areas of pharmacy operations.

Systemness can have the most significant impact in improving operational difficulties, giving the pharmacy an excellent opportunity to drive positive change. Pharmacists often focus on identifying, resolving, and preventing medication errors using their expertise. Processes and data can be consolidated to allow them to apply their knowledge in less time and at a grander scale. By freeing pharmacists from the time-consuming process of finding necessary data, they can instead focus on impactful operational challenges such as managing consistent supply and decreasing costs, ultimately driving exponential value for their organization.

Need a partner to assist in the journey to systemness? Omnicell's intelligence solutions can help your technology transformation to provide convenience, ease, and improved patient care. Together we can all work to achieve systemness across the continuum of care in the healthcare industry.

      The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer, or company. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). These views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time and may not be held in perpetuity.