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A recent study from Johns Hopkins University examined the top causes of death in the U.S. What did researchers determine is the No. 3 cause of death in the U.S.? Is it cancer, heart disease? No — it is medical errors.

It is estimated that over 250,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors––from surgical mix-ups and paperwork errors to inaccurate doses and sudden infections.

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Take, for example, the experience of Stephanie Papes, who, as a teenager, was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Initially, after multiple tests, the dermatologist informed her that they will follow-up with the results. The dermatologist never followed up.

Months later, the dermatologist frantically contacted Papes to schedule an emergency skin surgery. “Why hadn’t I known earlier? Why did my dermatologist wait months to inform me my skin was being taken over by a hostile cancer?” Papes asks. Thankfully, Papes’ dermatologist intervened in time to save her life. If Papes’ paperwork continued to slip through the cracks, the outcome may have turned out differently.

Papes’ experience is not an anomaly. Clinicians are some of our societies highest educated, most highly motivated professionals. They consistently go above and beyond to ensure their patients realize the best health outcomes possible. And in the case of Papes, her dermatologist saved her life. So what might explain the preponderance of medical errors? It’s not a clinician problem: it’s a connectivity problem.

An estimated 86% of medical errors are administrative; for example, 3 out of 10 medical tests are reordered because doctors and other stakeholders cannot find the results that are often hidden in a number of applications, systems, and devices.

More often than not, these medical errors are caused by data access issues, which exacerbate clinical mix-ups and paperwork errors. This is furthered by the fact that there is not a single “source of truth” that doctors can go to in order to receive a real-time, accurate overview of their patient, including their contact information, past medical history, previous and upcoming appointments, and more.

The absence of a single, 360-degree view of one’s patient leads to disparate sources of data that live in the IT systems of various providers and healthcare systems––causing paperwork and other important information to slip through the cracks. In the case of most patients, this holistic view can mean the difference between life and death.

Challenges with building a 360-degree view of the patient

Building a 360-degree view of the patient requires healthcare organizations to connect technologies – from EHRs to CRMs – to other sources of data within the healthcare enterprise.

For example, it is not enough for organizations to simply “adopt a cloud solution,” since cloud and SaaS technologies are only as powerful as the data that powers them. An organization that acquires a solution like Salesforce Health Cloud must be able to connect it to the EHR systems where patient data resides in order to not only realize value from that data, but mitigate medical errors and, in turn, deliver a better patient experience.

Healthcare organizations recognize how important this is, and how connectivity will get them to this goal. But today, patient information resides in more places than ever before, and with status quo connectivity approaches such as point-to-point integration, each new endpoint that must be connected to the above systems represents an additional investment in time and budget. And, as the number of endpoints increases, so does the cost of connectivity; additional budget is not something many healthcare organizations have.

This is why some healthcare organizations are turning to a new approach to connecting these systems in order to build a 360-degree view of the patient: API-led connectivity.

How Mount Sinai achieved a 360-degree view of the patient

Mount Sinai is one of the oldest integrated healthcare systems in the U.S., with seven hospitals, one medical school, 15 institutes, and over 40,000 employees, physicians, and residents. However, whenever a doctor saw a patient, they had to look through an average of 5 applications to get a comprehensive view of the patient’s medical record. The number of siloed data sources challenged efforts to improve the patient experience and streamline how doctors provide care, demanding a new approach to connectivity.

To address the lack of data interoperability, Mount Sinai turned to their IT team to transform care by building a single patient view and improving coordination between physicians, caseworkers, and community care providers. This required breaking the silos between the medical and non-medical data, applications, systems, and devices used by Mount Sinai teams and community partners.

With Anypoint Platform and API-led connectivity approach, Mount Sinai exposed data from systems and applications through FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) APIs. The hospital system can now share data through these APIs with hundreds of community care organizations and healthcare providers across New York City; thereby improving collaboration.

Today, for Mount Sinai, a single patient view is no longer a goal – but a reality.

“The biggest value of MuleSoft to us has been time,” says Kash Patel, Vice President of Population Health at Mount Sinai. “We went from months in the traditional sense of getting data from the source systems down to days and weeks.”

Learn more about Mount Sinai’s story and see how MuleSoft is helping leading healthcare providers build a 360-degree view of the patient. Visit us at the HIMSS Conference, booth 11229, from March 5-9, 2018.