Healthcare Data Management: Interoperability, Portability, and Accessibility Challenges
May 28th, 2020
Healthcare data management involves many challenges. Explore the problems with and opportunities for interoperability, portability, and accessibility.
Healthcare data management is complex, and not something most organizations have the expertise or bandwidth to handle on their own. Most stakeholders understand the opportunities of leveraging such an asset but aren’t sure how. They struggle with interoperability, portability, and accessibility. The healthcare system is ripe with challenges that leave many entities unable to use their data for the greater good optimally.
So, what are the biggest challenges and possibilities? As a healthcare data management company with over two decades of experience, we’re happy to share our ideas.
Interoperability Remains at an Impasse
The healthcare community at large, and its regulators, are certainly trying to make headway here. The new interoperability and information blocking rule from HHS tackles this head-on. The focus of the new rules is to allow patients more access to their medical records. The rules also express the need to eliminate information blocking. However, the enforceability of this is still up in the air.
We’ve seen lots of interoperability issues in our years of working on over 27,000 data management projects. Moving PHI isn’t a straightforward process. There have been many efforts to drive standardization in EHRs, mostly through FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), which should “simplify implementation without sacrificing information integrity).
However, there are different versions of FHIR so that systems could be technically “standardizing,” but there’s still incompatibility. Additional inconsistencies include EHRs not using all available FHIR APIs. The interoperability rule does address the need for FHIR APIs to improve data sharing. Most EHRs have adopted FHIR, but the new interoperability rule moves to make FHIR Release 4 the standard.
What’s the biggest roadblock? Health information systems aren’t “open.” They are designed to integrate, like many SaaS platforms. Healthcare data, it’s just different.
Portability Isn’t Easy
In many cases, a business can quickly move databases around. For example, if you move to new CRM software, you’ll migrate your customer data to a new platform. It’s usually not a heavy lift—maybe a little light data cleaning or purging.
Unfortunately, in healthcare data management, portability is a huge pain point. You can’t just move to a new EHR or decision support system by copying and pasting. It requires a data conversion to make sure the information is securely sent, and that field matching is as accurate as possible.
Beyond moving from one software to another, many healthcare organizations also need the capability to data share across their different systems. Again, not an easy road, even for IT experts. What typically occurs is that systems don’t sync, and implementations that don’t launch on time.
Access to Data Shouldn’t Be a Roadblock
The third concern that you may be dealing with in healthcare data management is accessibility. Can you access your data when and how you need it? While you may have no issues with reviewing and analyzing data in your current EHR or pharmacy system, what about legacy records?
Often, organizations will keep a legacy system running to store their old records. Storage is necessary to comply with medical record retention requirements, but using an old system is not the best user experience. It’s hard to find what you need, and you’re paying every month to retain access.
The easiest answer to universal, compliant, and easy accessibility is data archiving. Choosing a web-based system that allows you to store documents, data, and images ensures regulatory adherence while boosting ease of use and reducing costs.
Healthcare Data Management Made Easy with InfoWerks
Our goal is to promote interoperability, portability, and accessibility for every area of the healthcare ecosystem. Our experience and healthcare-centric approach to data management have made us the choice for thousands of organizations. Get in touch today to see how we can help.