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BlueButtonPlus Adoption Will Bring App Store Type Applications to Healthcare

By Anis Siddiqy | 18 November 2015

This Blog, by Anis Siddiqy, is about the potential impact of BlueButtonPlus (http://bluebuttonplus.org/) on the healthcare software applications development vendors.

Back in the early days of software application development, it was not common to have a developer spend a few nights programming something and creating a utility software extremely useful for everyone. Then those days were gone and came the super applications written by software companies like Microsoft. Microsoft’s and Oracle’s silently killed the completion by creating a huge barrier to entry for software developers. It was impossible for a developer to create something useful and sell it alone. The tactics were similar to the super store’s tactics that ran small mama papa shops out of business.

Luckily for consumer, the app store concept in programming came up and now again small companies started developing small useful things and publish it without the hefty marketing cost.

Now when you apply this concept to healthcare software arena, we have the similar problem here. The Mckessons and the Cerners of our industry do not allow small players to bring innovation out quickly. There needs to be an app store concept required in healthcare but the problem is, everything revolves around patient’s data and if an organization is running Cerner then they are doomed to integrate with Cerner any new piece of useful software. And integration needs to be done through preset HL7 interfaces that require thousands of dollars worth of interface engines, and expensive interface programmers.

With all these problems at hand, how BlueButtonPlus(http://bluebuttonplus.org/) can help. Well, with Blue Button Plus you have a central data repository, about the patient, up in the cloud. All the data, which is reported about the patient, is reported to this cloud. So any system small or large can securely retrieve or upload patient data to this cloud. So now, a small vendor can report patient information using an app store application to the cloud and a small vendor can retrieve patient information and show it to a provider in a creative way. The Mckessons of our world can also report and retrieve all patient info as well. Now the patient data base is no more Oracle or McKesson or Cerner or Epic. The Patient’s database is up in the cloud available securely to appropriate entities. Cerner becomes a tool to collect, manage and show patient data, instead of being the sole owner of the data. This has tremendous ramifications in the healthcare software industry. This is our fundamental requirement to get app store applications.

I, for one, am very thrilled with this development. As a developer at heart, I get at least few ideas every other month to improve some healthcare system feature. Reader would attest to the epiphany feeling they usually have when a missing feature of application dawns on them. They report the feature to these gigantic vendors and nothing happens. They wish they could create the feature using their internal IT resources but the hurdle always is that the patient data resides in one of these gigantic applications where no one has easy access to. It is our patient’s data but we cannot have access to it easily. Blue Button Plus is here to change that forever. I urge you start dreaming again about designing a productivity tool yourself, BlueButtonPlus is almost here and small vendors like Technosoft will be happy to fulfill your dreams in a timely manner.