New partnership addresses interoperability challenges, patient outcomes
July 23, 2019

New Partnership Addresses Interoperability Challenges

Matthew Michela, CEO and president of Life Image, a global network for sharing clinical and imaging data powered by industry leading interoperability standards, discusses a new partnership with Bialogics Analytics and highlights how this partnership will address interoperability challenges and improve patient outcomes.

First, can you briefly highlight the newly announced partnership among Life Image and Bialogics Analytics?

Matthew Michela:  Absolutely. Here at Life Image, we’re thrilled to be able to work with a company like Bialogics that has spent so much time and energy creating the ability to identify and extract data from hard‑to‑find places within radiology departments and machines in hospital settings in order to help drive value and help create insights within the workflow that improve productivity, save money and time, and help improve patient care itself.

We, as two companies here, share pretty similar missions about focusing on the improvement of patient care and making the health care system more efficient; and doing that by focusing on interoperability, breaking down data silos and democratizing data across the health care ecosystem so that there’s a lot less friction in figuring out what to do and how to do it better here.

Bringing these two organizations together, Life Image which is a very large health care network company focused on interoperability and having the technical pipes to connect the data sources, and a company such as Bialogics that has the wherewithal and the smarts of understanding what some of that data is. Freeing it up and then applying analytics to it is a wonderful partnership of our core competences here to focus ultimately on the improvement of patient care and helping manage costs and resources more effectively for our provider customers.

Can you briefly highlight what interoperability challenges health care providers and services currently face? How does this new partnership address those challenges?

Mr Michela:  Sure. When you talk about interoperability, it’s a term that’s been used probably now, and maybe we’ll even say misused, for the better part of two decades in health care. It really describes what, in reality, is folks building health care solutions.

Those solutions could be a very big MRI, or hundreds of different types of databases, or monitors to show results and imaging to analytic solutions and software solutions where ultimately, the purpose for creating those technology solutions is to get to a specific goal which should be improving patient care in the form of manufacturers for imaging machines.

As an example, they would argue that they’re spending massive amounts of time, and money, and resources to create a better way to diagnose the disease on behalf of the patient. That primary focus of: what is my use case? What’s my end goal? What am I trying to do? I’m trying to focus on the science. I’m trying to make sure that it works. I’m trying to create something innovative. In many regards, making the data that results from that software solution or that hardware solution transparent and available is in some regards a secondary concern.

What we have is a history of many decades of health care companies building these technology solutions where standardization of the data, standardization of the code and software, as an example, is a secondary concern.

The result of that over time is that health care data gets held captive, we would argue, in silos, in databases and in so many different kind of technologies that don’t talk to each other and don’t allow that sharing of data. Interoperability is both a philosophy and a tactical and strategic approach of understanding what’s not standard about where that data is hiding or what is not standard in the hardware or software that stores it.

Then, creating the ability to locate, find and extract that data in a way that allows you to combine it with other data and make it useful. Interoperability itself is perceived to be a technical challenge. It is. It is a technical challenge.

Fundamentally, it really is a business philosophy and a question of priorities of, “Do I recognize that when I’m creating a health care solution, I will do it in a way to make sure that that data then is available to other people or not?” It becomes an active choice that organizations make.

A company like Life Image, a company like Bialogics, we build everything we do into our basic value structure as a company that we will be interoperable. That allows us to connect. Part of this partnership between Bialogics and Life Image, and one of the reasons it makes sense, is because we actually can talk to each other.

Bialogics can use Life Image and our platform, and our footprint across this very broad hospital ecosystem that we have, to help access that data without having to build a very, very different, independent software solution for every single hospital, for every single software version, for every single manufacturing device.

We’ve already done that here at Life Image. We can plug and play with them. In many regards, that accelerates that ability to understand that to drive value. The challenges here, as we talked about, are perceived to be technical challenges. They are.

If the technology exists and it’s already been created then, yeah, I’ve got a technical problem. It is a question of priority and focus among health care organizations themselves and all the vendors to be demanding that that data becomes transparent, to be demanding that they have access to this information in ways that standardize, and frankly not working with software companies or hardware companies and vendors who deliberately create these technical stats and these solutions with proprietary standards and ways that locks the provider into that system for an inordinate amount of time.

I would argue the challenges here while, yes, historically are technical, are not really that here across the board. Our partnership, as we suggested, addresses those challenges.

We’re matching up what we have spent more than a decade to build, which is this highly interoperable software platform that allows the identification and the extraction, and movement, and exchange, and mobilization of data among thousands and thousands of different vendors and solutions out there.

What Bialogics is doing is figuring out, “How do I make that information even more discrete, getting more use out of it so that then we can help improve patient care and drive productivity improvements inside of radiology?” which is such an important part of every health care and hospital delivery system capability set.

Click here to read the complete interview.

By Julie Gould. Originally published by Integrated Healthcare Executive on July 23, 2019.