I’m absolutely intrigued by today’s announcement that Walgreens Pharmacy has integrated PatientsLikeMe data into their pharmacy website. This is the first time PatientsLikeMe has ever integrated their community’s information into a third party website. I think this is a groundbreaking move towards the integration of patient experience information into a wide variety of portals for patients and healthcare providers.
It’s no surprise that a patient facing company like Walgreens is the first to integrate this type of patient generated data. Most healthcare institutions are no doubt leery of patient generated data like this and so they’ll likely be very reticent to integrate this into their systems. However, I think this is a sign of where the integration of patient data is going.
I think the first place we’ll see these type of integrations in healthcare organizations is in the patient portals. I know of many hospitals that have been working to create a kind of PatientsLikeMe experience for their patients. You can see how these efforts could be bolstered by integrating some of the PatientsLikeMe data into their efforts. I’m not sure how much PatientsLikeMe has really opened up their data, but this move tells me that they’re interested in that idea.
So far I’ve only mentioned patient facing integrations. The next step to consider is integrating PatientsLikeMe data into an EHR. Take a look at the image below (click for full size image) to see the PatientsLikeMe integration with Walgreen’s pharmacy website:
It’s not that hard to imagine a similar interface with the PatientsLikeMe data alongside the ePrescribing fields. I’ll leave the discussion of whether this is a valuable integration or not to the doctors. However, PatientsLikeMe is just one example of many that are likely to come. Eventually that data could be genomic data that influences the drug being prescribed. Eventually that data could be “grand rounds” style data that informs a doctor of how his colleagues are prescribing the drug.
As we think through all these data possibilities, it’s easy for me to see that many of these things are not going to be offered by the EHR. So, EHR vendors need to make sure that they get really good at integrating with third party software and data providers. This needs to become a core capability of every EHR vendor.
I’m excited by the possibilities that these types of integrations will bring. What do you think of these integrations? Are they coming? What opportunities are available? Is my vision wrong? Let me know in the comments.