Having recently graduated from DUKE's School of Nursing with an MSN in Informatics, there was one topic that far outweighed any other: Standardization in Healthcare Language. The common theme being everyone knows we need it and everyone is working on it. But are we really making any progress?
It seems standards development has been an insurmountable task for far too long and there are too many differing groups working on their development. After sitting through countless lectures, some real progress is happening. New groups have come into the picture and are making rapid progress and older groups are reaching their goals. Why, all of a sudden, do we seem to be getting somewhere? Perhaps it is due to government regulations forcing the need to adopt standards and the recognition that we simply have to do this.
It would have been nice to have reached this realization long ago, since trying to retrofit this goal is a significant challenge now. We have entrenched technology into our clinical practice and we are weakened when it is not available. To implement the standards now will entail an overhaul of the systems that the country has been working so hard to install these past 20 plus years. The notion of standards seems so simplistic and fundamental, but the integration of those standards today will be just short of a tsunami.
Medical device language is one of these systems working towards standardization. But until that reality is reached, translation into a standard language can occur with a device integration solution. The various languages coming from the devices can be translated into one language for the electronic record. It is easier to support one funnel of data flow from all devices to create one output to the flow sheets and allow the data to be used for analytics, alarm and alerts, and other end destinations.
Incorporating standards today in the already built electronic record infrastructure will be the biggest challenge. It is good to know we are getting closer, but it will be even better when we are all done.