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Healthcare Interoperability - For Better Clinical Care and Robust Health Systems

Apurva Pachpor Sep 02, 2022

Mobile Health Digital Transformation Healthcare Telehealth Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) Digital Healthcare Health Equity Healthcare Interoperability

Interoperability entails the capacity of two or more systems to share and use health data. In this pandemic, healthcare service providers and hospitals have seen the highest clinical encounters where primary and emergency care efficiency went through multiple rounds of super stress tests. The provider and care teams tried their level best to provide the best possible medical care to individuals. Here we must understand that the rate of diagnostics procedures performed has increased – where a large population has discovered their health conditions such as deficiencies in current vital parameters, the strength of internal organs, and detection of chronic diseases. This will create a new batch of the population needing medical help for monitoring the deficiencies, Vital Parameters, Activities, and overall health condition.

During this tenure, the data generated from the diagnostics lab is very large including the rural areas. If this data is analyzed, many queries of various healthcare organizations will be answered and have clear visibility of a strategic future roadmap. Technology needs to be more involved in rethinking global health and wellbeing solutions in order to deliver more seamless and coordinated care. There has been a lot of talk in Health IT circles about process automation, especially using Artificial Intelligence (AI), to accelerate tasks and bring new efficiencies to healthcare operations.

It is important to understand the various challenges involved. For instance, the ability of healthcare applications and connected devices to communicate with each other in the decentralized ecosystem complying with the healthcare regulation and compliances is one of the challenges. There have been constructive efforts taken around resolving and standardizing Healthcare Interoperability.

Key pointers of Healthcare Interoperability in the application and connected devices -

  • The medical and non-medical team is informed to deliver the equitable treatment plan and adherence to treatment which will be trackable with impact analysis and real-time alerts
  • Accelerate the adoption of clinical, public health, and data interventions, by leveraging evolving digital technologies with AI, Machine Learning (ML), and Internet of Things (IoT) ability
  • Medical Devices and Equipment will be connected with the Electronic Health Record (EHR) and the digital outcome can be recorded for medical analysis
  • Healthcare Organizations like Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, PBM, Clinical Research, and associated companies will have the ability to do advanced healthcare data analytics
  • Increase the reliability of the data, metrics, and reporting. Efficient and accurate reporting to management and the Ministry of Health in order to monitor, correct, and attribute health gains
  • Smooth Processes from Patient Eligibility Validity to discharge
  • Ability to absorb impacts on clinical staffing
  • Accelerate the adoption of Virtual Care
  • Centralize the Health Profile
  • Also, help in delivering personalized and value-based healthcare for enhanced patient experience

Although hospitals and healthcare systems have long been encouraged by federal law to adopt the usage of EHRs, there is still a paucity of patient data interchange between unrelated platforms. It's a concern since sharing Protected Health Information (PHI) throughout the ecosystem is necessary for effective care team collaboration and patient-centered treatment. In other words, healthcare data must be flexible in order to maximize its value in reducing costs.

The best part is the new federal and state regulations are in place to help drive interoperability. The 2009 HITECH Act moved healthcare providers toward the use of EHRs through the “Meaningful Use” program. The Final Omnibus Rule of 2013 filled in gaps in the law around encryption standards and generally made healthcare providers better aware of the requirements for securing data both at rest and in motion. With the help of its Promoting Interoperability (PI) program, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently put a lot of effort into minimizing the use of fax and promoting the sharing of digital health information.

The complete interoperability of health IT will take some time. Health and Human Services (HHS) are looking for ways to promote and hasten the growth of interoperability throughout the healthcare system.

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