Driving Innovative Enhancements that Increase Interoperability

By Dr. Jay Anders, Chief Medical Officer, Medicomp Systems
Twitter: @MedicompSys
Twitter: @medicompdoc
Host of Tell Me Where IT Hurts – #TellMeWhereITHurts

As chief operating officer for the healthcare technology company CareCloud, Dr. Fatima Iram works with physicians and IT teams to help drive innovative enhancements that increase interoperability and usability for EHR users. Recently Dr. Iram and I sat down to discuss some of the challenges she and her team are working to address in order to make EHRs more efficient for clinicians.

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But first, I began the episode by sharing details of a recent conversation with a former medical school colleague who currently uses one of the major EMRs. I asked my physician friend to tell me about some of the biggest challenges he experiences with his system. The response: exchanging clinical information is a struggle because the big health systems in his area don’t do a good job of talking to one another. And, even when information is shared, the data is often stored in multiple pages of free text notes that are difficult to decipher. These issues can make it difficult for clinicians to get a good picture of a patient’s health.

The conversation underscored my own observation that many of the major systems are failing in terms of innovation.

However, one company that is innovating and working to address challenges with interoperability and data usability is CareCloud, where my guest Dr. Fatima Iram has worked since 2014 and currently serves as chief operating officer.

From practicing physician to EHR technologist

Dr. Iram graduated from medical college in Pakistan and practiced in a hospital prior to CareCloud. Since first joining CareCloud as a medical officer, she has shared her perspective with IT teams and clinical users to improve workflows, expand EHR functionality, and incorporate updates that improve medical care.

In addition to providing her physician perspective, Dr. Iram has helped CareCloud to incorporate innovative new technologies not traditionally included in EHRs, such as block chain and voice assistants. She is excited by opportunities to think outside-of-the-box and look at new ways that technologies can be used in CareCloud solutions.

EMR design frustrations

Dr. Iram acknowledges that both physicians and IT staff experience frustrations when designing EMRs. Physicians are often resistant to change and claim they are not tech-savvy – even though most embrace technology outside of the healthcare setting with their phones, cars, and laptops. Meanwhile, tech teams get frustrated and even fearful when dealing with any type of medical jargon.

Part of Dr. Iram’s role at CareCloud involves bridging the disconnects between physicians and IT so that both sides understand one another better and ultimately develop and embrace solutions that address the needs of physicians, as well as patients.

Differentiating CareCloud in the market

One of CareCloud’s core philosophies is that technology can help you achieve anything. Though most of the company’s solutions are built internally, they do selectively work with partners, such as Medicomp Systems. CareCloud is currently incorporating Medicomp technology into EHR workflows to help clinicians quickly access the information they need at the point of care.

As CareCloud continues to enhance its solution, Dr. Iram and her team will remain focused on designing workflows that give doctors all the information they need and provide tools to augment clinical decision making so they don’t need to recall every nuance of every disease or drug.

Telehealth, blockchain, and other innovations

Dr. Iram shared that while practicing in Pakistan, her hospital successfully used telehealth to provide care to patients in remote regions. When CareCloud began working on a telehealth solution in 2017, many were skeptical about the technology and had concerns about its impact on patient safety and satisfaction. The product was rolled out in 2019 – just in time to address the booming demand for telehealth when the pandemic hit. Dr. Iram believes that telehealth is an important innovation that is here to stay.

Another innovation that excites Dr. Iram is blockchain, which she believes can help with healthcare’s data challenges and facilitate interoperability. She believes interoperability must be a top priority in healthcare, which is why she supports the creation of interfaces and the adoption of standards to improve the sharing of useable data.

Magic wand

I closed the segment by asking Dr. Iram what she would change about health IT if she had a magic wand. In short, Dr. Iram says she would like to change the mindset of other physicians and make them more open to technology and its potential.

This article was originally published on the Medicomp blog and is republished here with permission.

About the Show
On Tell Me Where IT Hurts, join host Dr. Jay Anders as he sits down with experts from across healthcare and technology to discuss ways to improve EHR usability for end users. Dr. Anders and his guests explore opportunities to enhance clinical systems to make them work better for clinicians, reduce burnout, maximize revenue potential, and drive better patient care outcomes. Join the conversation on Twitter at #TellMeWhereITHurts.