What is a Tech Stack and Why Does Healthcare Need One?

by | Jul 20, 2022 | Blog, EHR, Health Tech

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Imagine the different ways you use your phone on a morning off of work. Your alarm wakes you up so you can meet a friend. While getting ready, you SnapChat a funny picture of your cat to your sister. You get a notification from your calendar app that you have a birthday party to go to next weekend, and you totally forgot about it, so you quickly go to your Target app and order a present. After getting ready, you put the address of a new coffee shop in your GPS and text your friend that you are on your way. Once there, you use Apple Pay to buy both your breakfasts. 

You just used seven apps. They all worked together to help you with different parts of your day. This is a tech stack. A tech stack is an ecosystem of different technologies, softwares, and apps that work together to accomplish goals. For an individual on their day off, the tech stack on their phone allows them to communicate with friends and family, remember their events, pay for activities, and more. 

A tech stack in work helps an organization accomplish all of the separate tasks that work together to achieve the organization’s overarching goals. A study found that in 2018, nearly 10% of businesses had more than 200 apps in their tech system, and that the number of apps was growing rapidly for smaller companies. Companies may have separate tech stacks for sales, marketing, HR, and other departments. Then, there are ways to share information from various tools within the tech stacks with each other. 

Why Healthcare Needs a Tech Stack

Right now, healthcare tries to rely on EHRs to do everything. EHRs were originally created to digitize paper charts and help with the business side of healthcare. However, healthcare has been changing to become more collaborative, and EHRs were not designed with this shift to highly-collaborative practice in mind. This led to EHRs that are mismatched with clinical workflows. 

A tech stack would build on and work seamlessly with the EHR to optimize different workflows for different groups of people in healthcare, making everyone more efficient and able to focus more on the patient. Clinicians may benefit from clinical decision making tools that help them determine the best choice of treatment given the data available. Population health platforms can help organizations see trends to help make predictions to improve patient care. Care collaboration platforms can enhance real-time coordination and task management. Additionally, tools to eliminate duplicative documentation can reduce clinicians’ cognitive load. 

To make tech stacks successful, organizations need to keep pushing interoperability forward. If clinicians cannot easily share the information from one app to another, or share it to other members on the care team, then the apps aren’t doing their job, and clinicians will continue to do extra, unnecessary work. Interoperability also needs to improve data sharing between patients and their care team, especially as wearable tech and remote patient monitoring becomes more popular and patients become more interested in actively participating in their care. 

A healthcare tech stack will optimize clinicians time and reduce time spent on non-clinical tasks so that clinicians can spend more time doing what they love: caring for their patients.