Recently, Hixny’s work was highlighted in an EHR Intelligence article, “How a Patient Record ‘Snapshot’ is Driving HIE Data Access.” Reading the story reminded me about something so core to our identity that we often forget to talk about it: Hixny is grounded in the understanding that the best ideas always arise through collaboration.
About 25 years ago, the Health Plan Association of New York and the Iroquois Healthcare Association came together to share information within newly enacted HIPAA regulations. Despite having two very different viewpoints, they turned their attention to the shared problem and let the best ideas surface, benefiting both health plans and hospitals. The effort coalesced into a nascent Hixny. We’ve been a collaboration for our entire existence.
Even now, we look to everyone in our organization and our community for ideas—whether through hackathons or focus groups, board meetings or conversations with public health officials. We do this because we recognize that sitting in our specific position only provides us one experience and one perspective on the fields of healthcare and information technology. We can’t assume we know everything unless we practice the skills of collaboration to understand the rest of the perspectives on a specific issue, need or concern.
As an organization, we foster strong listening, problem-solving and leadership skills, as well as adaptability, to help the best ideas materialize. Why? Collaboration builds trust. People want to know they’ve been heard, and that their ideas and thoughts have contributed to the solution.
Our account managers bring back ideas from our customers to make our process better, at the same time they’re sharing knowledge that we’ve gained from other participants. We find synergy and sources of creativity when we bring together hospitals and organizations facing common challenges that we may not have recognized without talking to them.
I am not here to say collaboration is easy. It’s not. Differences in opinion and perspective often lead to disagreement and impasse. Goals can feel unachievable, and progress can feel halted. It’s these moments when collaboration is most critical, when listening and understanding become invaluable to finding the path forward. Collaboration is about finding the common ground, no matter how difficult that may be.
When we understand situations and needs, we also have greater empathy for our participants—and that helps us learn more and come to better solutions. The dramatic uptake in Hixny use following the implementation of our patient record snapshot app is an example of how constant collaboration is a catalyst for innovation and growth.
Here’s the point: Healthcare is changing rapidly, and we need to work together to see those changes and respond effectively and efficiently. Hixny doesn’t collaborate just to say we’re collaborating. We collaborate to make sure we’re not making decisions based on a data point of one. Our perspective may be valuable and relevant, but it’s not replicable. We knew SMART on FHIR could make our app accessible—but our focus groups refined our ideas and dispelled myths, and the snapshot is the better for it.
We recently put out a call for anyone who might join a focus group. We got a great response, with people offering to give us some of their valuable time to make our service better. That’s a practice that’s lost in much of the industry. It can get to the point where it feels like there’s no path to consensus, where it seems as though everyone’s dug in around a left-hand button or a right-hand button. Leadership, creativity and problem-solving are needed to identify that perhaps a button isn’t the solution at all.
Hixny will continue to provide collaborative leadership across our healthcare community to surface the best ideas for all of us.