Benefits of Interoperability for Healthcare Systems
September 25th, 2020
Interoperability for healthcare systems is critical for true evolution in the space. When implemented, it has benefits for all stakeholders.
Interoperability for healthcare systems is somewhat of a sore subject in the industry. Interoperability has been the Achilles heel in healthcare data for some time. There have been significant advances and attempts at reform, including the new interoperability rule. However, it’s still a struggle that adds unnecessary costs to the healthcare ecosystem and can negatively impact patient care.
When interoperability works, different platforms can communicate and exchange information. It removes the barriers driving these key benefits for all stakeholders.
The productivity of clinicians and providers is critical in their day to day. Ultimately, they want to spend more time with patients than with technology. But a recent study found this objective is unmet most of the time.
If interoperability is a challenge, productivity will be as well. Users need to be able to access information from disparate systems in a streamlined manner. They shouldn’t have to spend excess time, simply because the systems can’t communicate.
Hits to productivity also drive up costs. That’s one byproduct, but there are other ways the lack of interoperability adds to budgets. There are additional strains on IT teams that may lack the bandwidth or knowledge to share data across systems. This leads to delays in deploying new health information systems (HIS), so you’re paying for idle products. Further, digitization efforts are buoyed by interoperability, reducing the need for paper in the process.
Improved Patient Care
Interoperability is key to improving patient care. With access to the right data at the right time, providers can make better decisions. This improvement isn’t possible with interoperability. Consider the advantages of using a decision support system. It needs data from multiple sources to be an effective tool. More information and context are vital to improving outcomes.
Better Public Health Data
Look no further than the COVID-19 data exchange woes to understand the importance of interoperability. Disparate systems and multiple streams of data are the roots of the problem. If there were standardization of interoperability across the system, this would be less of a problem. It would also provide all stakeholders with a transparent, accurate view of a public health crisis. Then the interpretation of said data could lead to better recommendations to the public.
Medical errors are costly, no matter where they occur. In cases of patient care, they can have significant consequences, simply because of unmade updates or issues with data entry. Any provider treating a patient should have access to their medical history without all the red tape and delays. It could seriously save lives.
Other errors aren’t life and death but still impact providers. Errors in coding for medical billing are avoidable when data from EHRs or other patient-focused systems is shareable with billing platforms.
Enhanced Patient Experiences
The patient experience is extremely important for many reasons. Patients deserve to have access to their medical history so they can be more active in their own health. They also don’t want to fill out paper forms every time they visit you. Finally, they also should have continuity of care across all their providers. All these things are probable with interoperability, and they contribute to patient satisfaction.
Safeguarding Patient Data
At the core of HIPAA and the responsibility of healthcare providers to patients is that their data is secure and private. The main way interoperability does this is because it doesn’t require duplication of efforts of typing in patient information into multiple platforms. The fewer touches of data and paper involved, the more secure the process.
What Are Your Interoperability Challenges?
Interoperability for healthcare systems has a tangled web of challenges. You can’t fix all of them, but you can improve your internal interoperability relating to data sharing. Learn more about how we can help, so your organization and patients can enjoy the benefits.