Debra L Griffin: Improving care by facilitating interoperability in healthcare.



Interoperability in the healthcare ecosystem is the ability of different information systems, devices, and applications (‘systems’) to access, exchange, integrate, and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational, regional, and national boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and optimize the health of individuals and populations. Health data exchange architectures, application interfaces and standards enable data to be accessed and shared appropriately and securely across the complete spectrum of care, within all applicable settings and with relevant stakeholders, including by the individual. The four levels of interoperability: establishes the inter-connectivity requirements needed for one system or application to securely communicate data to and receive data from another application, Structural, defines the format, syntax, and organization of data exchange including at the data field level for interpretation, Semantic, provides for common underlying models and codification of the data including the use of data elements with standardized definitions from publicly available value sets and coding vocabularies, providing shared understanding and meaning to the user, “New” Organizational, includes governance, policy, social, legal and organizational considerations to facilitate the secure, seamless and timely communication and use of data both within and between organizations, entities, and individuals. These components enable-shared consent, trust, and integrated end-user processes and workflows. That’s what PPX-TEC precisely does. It acts as a health history data silos connector for interoperability. 

Based in Jackson, Mississippi PPX-TEC, LLC has been in software research and the development business of creating patient-centric innovative technology solutions for data literacy and usability, more specifically a multifunction mobile data exchange bridge software as a servie (SAAS). Incorporated in April 2012 by Debra L Griffin (Co-founder and CEO) and Dean Harrison (Co-founder), PPX-TEC a mobile bridge enterprise send and receives personal health record that aggregates that data being exchanged between and beyond silos. PPX-TEC allows users to decide when and how to share their data B2C, B2B, and C2C exchanges. PPX-TEC is also a COVID-19 mitigation solution. 

We spoke to Debra L Griffin to discuss how her company helps improve patient outcomes. Here she reveals how she stays motivated and the inspiration she draws from Fannie Lou Hamer.

Debra L Griffin, Co-Founder & CEO

“Healthcare is a basic right and patients should share in the ownership of their health histories for engagement and appropriate decision making. Health is the real wealth.”

Aspioneer(A): Tell us what ignited your passion for quality healthcare? 

Debra L Griffin(D): “Managing rural hospitals in improvised communities, I worked hard to ensure that everyone that presented for care whether insured or not received care. Most of the time it was difficult balancing mission and money. Also, I am a twice cancer survivor and I learned first-hand that fragmented data hinders care and that the empowered patient that advocates for themselves with the right information have better health outcomes. I did.

(A): How is PPX-TEC contributing to the healthcare ecosystem? 

(D): “Healthcare access is economics and  is a global concern and ‘Silo Effect’ challenges are costly, even life-endangering in some instances and is not going away in America’s public and private hybrid health care delivery system. Using PPX-TEC the patient will become new players and along with this more significant financial responsibility comes a greater role in decision making related to own care.

These empowered, engaged consumers demand the same convenience from the healthcare industry that they’ve come to expect from more traditionally consumer-oriented businesses such as financial. In response to healthcare consumerism, healthcare organizations are rethinking their approach to patient experiences as they work to offer innovative new services that attract and retain consumers. Despite the adoption of mature health IT infrastructure, the healthcare industry as a whole suffers from its longstanding tendency to limit data sharing with not only business partners but also patients and caregivers. PPX-TEC allows for re-imagination of the health data information infrastructure for being consumer focus.”

(A): What makes PPX-TEC stand out?

(D): “In the development and design of PPX-TEC, our goal was simple, low-cost integrations that install easily and is easy to use and prove value quickly. We are aiming for even simpler = Less is more. Products that integrate easily play well with others and encourage others to play with them by developing a fully tested mobile bridge application to support healthcare consumerism, improving the patient experience with health IT, incorporating new and emerging data sources to better serve patients.”

(A): What’s happening in healthcare that we should be aware of? 

(D): “The megatrends for America’s hybrid health care delivery system adoption of a broader interoperability position are the passage and finalization of the 21st Century Cures Acts on Interoperability in March 2020 that intersected with COVID-19, the HITECH Act, the Affordable Care Act shifting from paper health records to digitalized health records, implementation of value-based reimbursements, HL7, FHIR, FHIR R4 protocols and proprietary standards; and the onset of the smart device that birthed digital consumerism; the desire to participate in the ownership of their health data for engagement and decision making. Healthcare consumerism is not going away and America’s hybrid healthcare system is not changing…… always gonna be private and public.”

(A): What is PPX-TEC focused on right now?

(D): “We have re-entered our application back into development to update the native code, upgrade to exchange all possible APIs via FHIR R4, and complete the many innovative builds and integrations that will demonstrate the power and versatility of PPX-TEC.” 

(A): What challenges did you face as a digital health entrepreneur? How did you deal with it?

(D): “Our interoperability journey started in 2011. There was no understanding from anyone that I spoke with, it was as if I was speaking an ancient foreign language. Broad interoperability is a new frontier and unwanted by private vendors and little interest from investors or partners at this time. Also, black women are generally not taken seriously in health technology. I just kept moving forward because I clearly understood what I was working to achieve and the possible contribution that could be made.”

(A): When you are stuck creatively, what keeps you going?

(D): “My creativity comes from prayer, mediation, walking helps me to refocus when I am discouraged; but mainly my sincere desire to help others. Also knowing that at the end of this, wherever it is, I can say I gave 100% of everything that I had.”

(A): If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

(D): “Fannie Lou Hamer, I want to hear why and where did she get her courage and determination to place herself at the forefront of hatred, abuse, and subjecting her life and the family to being threatening during the Mississippi Civil Rights fight. I really am hoping that one day that I can financially bless some of her heirs. I am wholeheartedly in awe of her.”