Healthcare Interoperability: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

Healthcare Interoperability: Benefits, Challenges, Solutions

One of the most powerful ways to enhance patient outcomes and provide a better quality of care is through creating operability across your healthcare organization. Although it’s easy to think of operability as just being about health information systems, the need for deep links and integrations goes far beyond that. True healthcare interoperability involves people, processes, systems, information, communications, and more — all supported by a drive to deliver better healthcare.

The Benefits of Healthcare Interoperability for Clinical Workflows

A good clinical workflow relies on having the right information, about the right patient, in the right way, at the right time. This information informs diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care and is one of the most important drivers of patient outcomes. When it comes to providing excellent healthcare, speed, accuracy, consistency, and quality are all vitally important. Here’s how that looks with true interoperability.

  • Speed — your systems pull immediate, up-to-date information from a variety of systems, and you get a constantly updating snapshot of a patient’s healthcare data.
  • Accuracy — data from disparate systems can be compared and collated to give an accurate overview of a patient’s healthcare needs and their prognosis, allowing for informed decision making.
  • Consistency — healthcare information is presented in a consistent, easily-understandable way.
  • Quality — doctors, nurses, and other clinicians trust the data provided by integrated systems, allowing them to make better choices to enhance patient outcomes.

When you have true interoperability, smart, patient-centered decisions become much easier.

Challenges with Clinical Interoperability and Healthcare Information Systems

One of the main issues with interoperability is that many healthcare systems operate in silos. They use proprietary data formats and protocols to collect, store, manage, and share data. Getting multiple EHR, diagnostic, and other systems to talk to each other can be time-consuming and complex. A simple solution is often to have an overarching system that can gather information from all of these systems, and present it in a way that’s easy for clinicians to understand and act on.

Implementing a Clinical Communication and Collaboration Platform as a Solution for Interoperability

Trying to get multiple systems to integrate with each other can be exponentially difficult. The more technologies that need to interact, the faster the complexity increases. Instead, a good clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) platform can gather information from several different systems and provide “one view of the truth” to clinicians.

This functionality also empowers the other parts of your clinical workflow and healthcare interoperability — people, processes, and communications.

  • People — everyone who needs the information can be kept in the loop. Your entire clinical care team can easily get access to the same information to inform diagnosis, treatment plans, and ongoing care.
  • Processes — a good CC&C platform will fit your existing clinical workflow processes and practices. It can enhance interactions throughout a patient’s time with you, from sharing information to handoffs and reducing medical errors.
  • Communications — built-in, secure communications will ensure proper visibility of a patient’s details to the right people. This can help when it comes to deciding on the best course of treatment and provides an auditable trail of decisions and discussions.

If you want to enhance your clinical workflows and enjoy true healthcare interoperability, then a clinical communication and collaboration platform is just the solution you need.

Will O’Connor, M.D. is the Chief Medical Information Officer at TigerConnect. As a physician executive with more than 20 years of healthcare experience, Will is a passionate advocate for rapid advancement across the healthcare industry.

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