The connected healthcare ecosystem: Integrating medicine, data and IT

connected healthcare DXC Blogs

Healthcare systems have undergone major changes in recent years with the aim of improving care delivery.

Driving the changes are political, social and personal shifts, such as the capping of healthcare expenditures; the financing of innovative medicine; and growing awareness of health and wellbeing among the general population.

Promising national initiatives have been launched in many countries. Norway and Brunei  with their “one citizen – one record” programs; the so-called “Zielsteuerungsvertrag” in Austria and similar programs in Sweden are just a few examples. The accountable care organizations in the United States, coordinated care projects in British NHS trusts and the integration of the healthcare system of Lombardy, Italy, also showcase the trend.

The private (commercial) sector is seeing interesting developments, as well. In recent years, some global players in life sciences have used acquisitions to create an almost complete ecosystem. In addition to their core life sciences business, these companies have integrated business from the healthcare provider sector, including hospitals, primary care centers or special therapy centers (e.g., dialysis).

In other cases, global strategic investment companies have developed their healthcare ecosystem by acquiring hospital chains, pharmacies, primary care centers and health insurance companies.

While the objectives of these initiatives are diverse, they share common goals:

  • Improved access to modern medicine for the entire population
  • The qualitative and quantitative optimization of therapy decisions in a patient-centered, multi-professional setting
  • The measurability of medical outcomes and their benefits for the quality of life of patients
  • The medium- and long-term continuity of care and therapy
  • The proactive involvement of patients in their care programs
  • Optimization of resource allocation in healthcare

Transformation versus technology

The IT industry has provided a variety of technical solutions and products in the field of e-health to help guide these changes. For example, solutions secure the transfer of discharge letters between hospitals and referring physicians or allow for video consultations between doctor and patient.

Though such systems improve therapy and care in those defined scenarios, they lack the impact of comprehensive, strategically oriented programs. They are not transformation driven; they’re technology driven.

Central to healthcare transformation is a desire is to integrate health data and information – and to provision it to stakeholders at the point-of-care.

Doctors who work in networked care systems can confirm the enormous value that comes from providing relevant medical data – based on the longitudinal health records of patients (electronic health records) – to providers. This huge amount of data (so-called “data lakes”) can be subjected to cognitive analysis, which allows us to further investigate findings from therapeutic practice and use them for optimization, risk stratification and prediction.

For this data-driven transformation to happen, healthcare ecosystems will have to integrate, not only current actors in the healthcare sector, but also suppliers and other service providers.

Our Open Health Connect

From many years of experience working with customers and in anticipating these future industry needs, DXC developed Open Health Connect (OHC). Our solution makes it possible to achieve a new level of connectivity and interoperability while at the same time using a secure, reliable open framework.

Our VIADUCT integration engine, part of OHC,  is a process- and path-based solution for the execution of data and information transactions. VIADUCT manages up to 15 million transactions per day in e-health projects implemented by DXC. It enables a cross-institutional, evidence-based data exchange.

The integration platform, also part of OHC, provides an API gateway that establishes connectivity between a wide range of legacy systems and imported systems with a variety of data storage systems. It enables the fast, interoperable, FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) compatible, semantically consistent delivery of medical diagnostic and therapeutic data.

This chart shows the DXC Open Health Connect at a glance:

Open Health Connect DXC Blogs

DXC Open Health Connect data model

IoT in healthcare

Imagine this scenario: A nurse enters the patient’s room with a tablet. A beacon installed in the room alerts an app on the tablet to automatically load the patient’s data and displays status information. The nurse is told of any open tasks and other upcoming activities and measures that need to be done to meet the predetermined treatment pathway.

This is just one of numerous examples of how Internet of Things (IoT) can be integrated into clinical practice.

In addition to this “near-distance networking,” IoT has potential in numerous others areas, such as the care of chronically ill patients in their home environment (“far distance networking”).

The integration of innovative technologies into project-specific solution architectures is something we at DXC specialize in. The DXC Health Ecosystem  reference model, represented in Figure 2, illustrates our approach.

DXC blueprint for the realization of future healthcare ecosystems.

In long-term system partnerships, we work to optimize system availability in daily operations and promote continuous improvement, development and deployment.

Key stakeholders benefit from significant added value:

  • Doctors and nursing staff have more comprehensive information on the patients they care for. The partial “trial-and-error-medicine” is leveraged by data- and information-based therapy decisions.
  • Patients have higher levels of transparency with improved accessibility to medical treatment. Their involvement in medical activities increases the likelihood of reaching health goals.
  • Big data and analytics enables risk assessment and prediction. Care systems can “breathe” better and adapt to the changing requirements from demography, morbidity-load, medical progress and reimbursement for services.

To sum it up, innovative healthcare requires profound changes at operational, tactical and strategic levels. Getting to a population-oriented approach requires the integration of stakeholders and a clearly structured step-by-step approach:

Building / differentiating an ecosystem

Implementation of an integration platform

Integration / optimization of legacy systems

Use-cases & transformation

Partners like DXC can help move organizations through this process in a way that integrates medicine, data and IT, enabling the connected healthcare ecosystem of the future.


Bodo Ebens is Clinical Director in DXC’s Northern and Central European healthcare and life sciences business. He is a published author and member of healthcare expert groups, as well as the scientific committee of the European Healthcare Conference. He has extensive expertise in healthcare systems in Central and Continental Europe, the Gulf Area, China, U.S. and Brazil. He is a registered senior expert consultant of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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