What is data interoperability in healthcare?
The healthcare industry uses various healthcare data exchange architectures, application program interfaces, and standards to send and receive data.
Interoperability refers to the ability of disparate systems to communicate with each other.
Why is it important?
From a patient's perspective
Patients receive care from multiple providers working in multiple healthcare systems. Patients may be on multiple payer panels, and interoperability can help improve patient care by allowing an overview of data regarding financial claims, comparing providers' costs & maintaining track of how the treatment is covered by insurance companies and what is due to pay.
From a healthcare provider's perspective
Interoperability enhances the collaboration between healthcare providers and insurance companies thus removing the barriers that are preventing the flow of data between the stakeholders revolving around the patient's care (doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, etc.). There is a need for a seamless patient data flow that allows patients and providers to easily access their information (treatment options, pricing plans, electronic health records, etc.) and make informed decisions.
Let’s proceed by showing three use-cases of interoperability in healthcare:
1. A clinic can securely extract patient records while maintaining the granularity of structured data
Let’s say a patient schedules an appointment at a new clinic. During the appointment, the doctor will examine the patient and order some lab tests; if the patient has been tested recently, the physician has three options:
- Request the medical documents from the patient’s previous clinic
- Ask the patient to get their health records
- Repeat the lab test
All the above-mentioned options can be considered inefficient (in terms of resource usage and time management) in comparison with the benefits provided by a clinic platform that runs by interoperability standards.
The physician can request a longitudinal view of the patient's health history and treatments in different hospitals. This allows them to plan treatment and medication schedules even further in advance since it cuts the time needed for gathering patient records through traditional methods.
Moreover, the physician can plan treatment without needing for the patient to be physically present along with copies of EHR or imaging files. Therefore, they can have a better chance of avoiding any potential complications.
2. An authorized clinic can transmit all or a portion of a patient record to another clinician who uses a different EHR & patient readmission
When organizations have interoperable electronic health records, the referral process becomes much easier. Suppose your physician has a patient with a serious illness and they need to send key patient information to another clinic for a referral. In that case, the physician can do so and get an answer in the shortest possible time.
The ability of an e-health system to interoperate with other healthcare systems can improve the management of readmissions.
Interoperable systems can help reduce the need for manual input thus making the treatment for intensive care unit patients more efficient and safer. Data portability allows nurses to access the patient's health records with a simple click of a button and ensure that the infusion pump is programmed with the correct medication dosage and treatment.
Interoperable software architecture can make it easier for hospitals and doctors to work together to improve patient care. The benefits vary in a wide range, from economic improvements to staff productivity and most important of them all, the enormous welfare and comfort it brings to patients.
Looking for a great solution to implement interoperability within your healthcare system? Medicai's platform brings all of your medical imaging data into one seamless solution that is efficient for both the patient and the workflow within your medical enterprise. Find out more by booking a demo call below:
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