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Geisinger, Merck Partner to Launch EHR-Integrated FHIR Apps

A new partnership between Geisinger Health System and Merck leverages FHIR for EHR-integrated health IT tools.

Geisinger and Merck have partnered to launch EHR-integrated health IT tools.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- Geisinger Health System and Merck have partnered to launch two new EHR-integrated, web-based health IT tools that leverage FHIR to utilize health data from a variety of EHR systems from different vendors.

The two applications were developed as part of Geisinger and Merck’s ongoing collaboration and are designed to integrate directly into provider workflows to enable clinical efficiency.

The applications include the Family Caregiver Application and MedTrue.

The Family Caregiver app allows for two-way communication between providers and caregivers to improve care coordination, while MedTrue integrates medication data into clinical workflows to enable better-informed clinical decision-making. MedTrue is intended to streamline medication reconciliation and adherence for a patient and provider-verified medication list. 

The health IT solutions are available to both patients and providers and can be used with an internet connection from a patient’s home. The apps use Substitutable Medical Applications and Reusable Technologies (SMART) on FHIR to ensure patients and providers can access patient health information from disparate EHR systems across health systems through the open, standards-based platform.

“Our collaboration with Merck has allowed both of our organizations to leverage our individual strengths, expertise and resources to better enable a shared decision-making process through healthcare technology,” said Geisinger Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer David Ledbetter.

“Providing these tools for patients and family caregivers — tested within our own system — enables patients to be more active in healthcare decisions and could increase the likelihood that patients will adhere to their treatment plans and lead healthier lives,” he continued.

The solutions were tested within Geisinger Health System. Real-world experience studies are currently being conducted for additional evidence on the solution’s effectiveness.

“Our experience in collaborating with Geisinger, a progressive, integrated delivery system, has given us many insights on the development and testing of solutions to improve patient care and we are confident these applications can be successful with other health systems,” said Merck US Associate Vice President of Strategy and Commercial Model Innovation Lisa French.

The Family Caregiver app includes a calendar, a patient-managed medication scheduler, and a journal feature that enables caregivers and patients to write notes and narrative-driven accounts of healthcare encounters. Patients can also set their preferences, values, and high-priority activities in treatment plans.

Providers can also enter their roles and contact numbers into the app to ensure patients and care teams have access to accurate provider data.

“We are excited to begin the next phase of our work together, as we actively explore the expanded use and commercialization of these applications with other stakeholders in the healthcare system,” French continued.

MedTrue includes medication fill data, patient web interfaces for patient-reported medication verification, changes, and adherences, and a healthcare team interface available through the EHR system to enable health data access at the point-of-care.

“We know from prior work that about 70% of our medication lists are inaccurate, and these inaccuracies can lead to medical errors,” said Geisinger Chief Pharmacy Officer and Vice President of Enterprise Pharmacy Mike Evans.

“The MedTrue application provides an interface that seeks to clean up medication lists, so patients and providers can be on the same page regarding medication use and better care decisions can be made,” he continued.

Merck is a global biopharmaceutical company.

This partnership between Geisinger and Merck follows past collaborations between large health systems and technology companies.

In 2017, Epic partnered with Mayo Clinic to deliver patient-facing educational resources developed by the Mayo Clinic to users of Epic MyChart.

The partnership made more than 18,000 pages of content on more than 4,000 health topics available to patients.

Patients can look up symptoms, conditions, diseases, and general life stage and healthy living information through their patient portals.

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