Health Care IT, the Ever-Changing Challenge

Health Care IT, the Ever-Changing Challenge

Being an Information Solution (IT) Architect can be a challenge. Adding the complex nature of health care IT standards, federal and state regulations, extreme privacy and security requirements and industry shifts makes it even more exciting. 

Being an Information Solution (IT) Architect can be a challenge. Adding the complex nature of health care IT standards, federal and state regulations, extreme privacy and security requirements and industry shifts makes it even more exciting. 

So why is health care IT so complex?  Let’s look at a few examples.  HL7 messages is the most common used form for electronic messages.  It contains 307 different message event types, made up of dozens of unique segments with thousands of different fields.  The other main type of message is the Consolidated-Clinical Document Architecture (C-CDA); it has been described as the most complex XML structure ever used.  Those messages and documents use some of the most complex vocabularies and terminologies on the planet.  One of these is SNOMED CT, a clinical terminology designed to capture and represent patient data for clinical purpose with over 311,000 active concepts.  ICD-10 is another example, the vocabulary used for billing for medical activities.  It contains over 141,000 procedure and diagnosis codes. In addition to the above there are LONIC, UCUM, RxNorm, NCPDP, CPT and other vocabularies and terminologies used.

If the complexities of the standards and vocabularies aren’t enough, the entire health care industry is shifting to address recent federal regulations, payment reform and care transformations. For the past five years, the federal government has release at least two massive new regulations each year, overhauling everything from how they pay providers, to what technology must be used and how quality is tracked and reported.  Many of the regulations span over a thousand pages.  The entire health care market is switching from fee-for-service (when the provider was paid for each visit or procedure) to pay-for-quality (paying to keep people healthy and out of the hospital). 

Just think of how often you hear in the news of a new way to treat a disease or the next wonder drug gets approved. All of this has an impact on health IT ranging from changes how health providers deliver care to the systems they use and how those systems interact with each other.

So why be an IT solution architect in health care? You can bring together a new solution that did not exist before, knowing it will improve someone’s life or possibly even save their life, is not a driver for a typical IT project. Knowing the solution, you helped build will have that type of impact makes all the challenges worth it and coming into work every day enjoyable.  As a plus, you get to work with smart, dedicated professionals and cutting-edge technology. 

Do you have a challenging health IT problem you need help with, if so contact us? Think you have what it takes to be a health IT rock star, then join our team.

Jeff Shaw is a Health Care IT solution architect who has been with Dewpoint for over three years. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing multi-million-dollar health information technology (HIT) solutions, including the preparation and completion of projects to appropriate technical and quality standards, within time and budget constraints, while meeting contractual requirements. He is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS), with almost ten years’ experience of health care IT projects, ranging from single system integrations to large-scale care coordination and analytic solutions.  Jeff is currently focusing on supporting Health Information Exchange (HIE) activities with Michigan.   He acts as the lead solution architect and subject matter expert while providing strategic leadership and knowledge transfer training for the state government and the health care community at large.

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