Physicians are no strangers to the chatty world of social media. Nearly a quarter admit to using Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to share or consume content on a daily basis, and double that number check their news feeds at least once a week. But will a social network dedicated to health information exchange – and lacking baby photos and cute cat videos – attract the attention of clinicians who are tired of sending records by fax and phone? tibbr, designed to provide an internal organizational network focused on business communication, thinks there’s a market, and a large Texas HIE agrees.
iHealth Exchange, which provides HIE services for 12,500 physicians in the Houston area, recently announced its collaboration with tibbr, which allows physicians to communicate in real time using a secure network, eliminating the need for constant phone communication and the slow productivity drain of waiting for faxes to arrive. iHealth Exchange estimates that this outmoded workflow costs an average of nearly $50,000 a year in lost productivity.
“In my 20-year career, one of the biggest challenges I have seen in the healthcare industry is the exchange of information between providers. Using tibbr, we have been able to replace the obsolete paper and fax machine workflow with an electronic system that lets providers communicate in real time,” said iHealth Exchange CEO Chris Stephens. “Patients today expect better care and service from their doctors’ offices and hospitals, and enterprise social tools give providers a new platform to deliver modern care.”
The features of the social network include a Facebook-like “wall” for sharing information like ordering requests, patient referrals, and internal communications, integrated with EHR data for real-time, constant access to the latest events. The system is accessible from a desktop or mobile device with nothing more than a regular internet connection and a browser.
Users can restrict who sees what posts, and the network is HIPAA compliant. iHealth Exchange’s version of the tibbr platform was recently awarded the ONC’s top prize in the Reporting Patient Safety Events Challenge, which encouraged developers to find a simple, effective way to report internal incidents and analyze the data to prevent patient hazards in the future.
As technology expands to allow physicians to share data, images, and diagnoses, HIEs are looking for systems with a high usability factor, and social networks like tibbr might fit the bill. Most computer-savvy physicians are used to using the “share” and “like” buttons available on nearly every website, and basing an information exchange on such a familiar model could be a way to promote engagement and ease the transition to a more modern way of sharing patient data.
“With healthcare providers looking to bring their processes out of the dark ages, enterprise social platforms are positioned to play a vital role in how providers and patients interface,” said Ram Menon, President Social Computing at TIBCO Software, tibbr’s parent company. “Ultimately, the power of the social enterprise is that it not only improves how healthcare providers share information, it also impacts the care and treatment patients receive.”