“We are at the intersection of doing great things for the world. We have the ability to change people’s lives.”

-Chuck Robbins, Cisco CEO

Virtually every industry is undergoing digital transformation. The retail, manufacturing, energy, and transportation industries, to name a few, are all seeing major improvements in productivity enabled by digital technologies. It is only within the healthcare industry that this digitization, or the lack thereof, can become a matter of life and death.

Of all the industries where I’ve seen the intersection of technology and business, I find the pace of innovation within healthcare to be astounding. From consumer devices like Fitbit to vast genomic databases, new inventions are driving an exponential rise in the amount of data available to manage one’s healthcare. Yet, with all this data, a gap in connecting data remains a major problem.

Fractured Healthcare

Dr. Aenor Sawyer with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) says it best, “People navigate the healthcare journey, but their data does not.”

Although the healthcare industry applies technology successfully in some areas, it’s often implemented in a highly siloed manner. According to a study by the White House Office National Coordinator for Health and Information Technology, the consequences of this siloed approach are staggering.

UCSF_Health Stats

This is what fractured healthcare looks like. It’s riddled with gaps and disconnects that make it difficult to provide quality, informed and end-to-end care for patients. This leaves us with a serious question to answer, “What can we do about it?”

Integrated Healthcare

Healthcare organizations face a seemingly impossible Triple Aim ­– better care for more people at lower cost. This approach carries a strong focus on patient experience and requires a cross-function, cross-industry collaborative solution.

To focus on this challenge, UCSF and Cisco have partnered to create a Connected Health Interoperability Platform (CHIP) that allows data to flow across the healthcare landscape making it easier for doctors, pharmacies, and patients to see completely into case histories. Take a moment to watch the video describing this initiative.


Think of it as a type of apps-driven ecosystem developed for consumers, clinicians, healthcare organizations, and payors enabling them to connect seamlessly and effortlessly. Among the many benefits CHIP users will experience, they will be able to:

  • Pull data from multiple institutions so patients and providers can proactively manage health maintenance
  • Receive a complete, synchronized medication list, accessible by their pharmacy, doctor, and in their online portal
  • Simultaneously view MRIs, CT scans, and laboratory data to enable oncologists, radiologists, and pathologists to make a treatment decision together

Connected Health Interoperability Platform (CHIP) is still in development, but a proof-of-concept will be demonstrated at this week’s Health Information and Management systems Society (HIMSS) 2016 Conference (Feb. 29-Mar4).

A broad network of collaborators from across the healthcare ecosystem are required to address this challenge and we invite others to work with us. To learn more and join in, visit digitalhealthplatform.org.


Jim McDonnell

Director, General Manager

ServiceGrid, CMCP, UCSF Alliance