How Healthcare Providers Can Improve Interoperability

How Healthcare Providers Can Improve Interoperability

Alex D'Souza, Medical Tech Outlook | Saturday, April 02, 2022

While interoperability allows healthcare organizations to accomplish various operational benefits, it is ultimately a patient-centric undertaking when executed properly.

FREMONT, CA: New federal laws on interoperability and patient access, providing people direct access to their healthcare data, started taking effect in 2021 and will continue until 2022, as though 2020 couldn't get any more difficult for healthcare providers. While these laws benefit patients in the long run, they add to the operational burden for several revenue-strapped healthcare institutions.

What's Ahead with Interoperability?

The new rules, which apply to both health systems and health plans, are designed to guarantee that patients can electronically access their healthcare information irrespective of the health system or type of electronic health records (EHR) used, and they apply to every CMS-regulated plan, such as Medicare Advantage, CHIP, and the Federally Facilitated Exchanges.

Healthcare systems must start following interoperability principles that prohibit information blocking, which means not compromising patients' access to or using their electronic health records. The existing fragmented and error-prone methods of communicating crucial healthcare information will be replaced by interoperability. It offers immediate benefits such as better care coordination and patient experience, increased patient safety, and enhanced patient privacy and security. Other advantages include higher provider productivity, lower healthcare expenditures, and more reliable public health statistics.

Five Steps for Interoperability Excellence 

While technology investments will help healthcare systems accomplish significant interoperability improvements, they must not view technology as the only way to attain interoperability success.

Determine the "master" interoperability strategy

Every relevant stakeholder in the business must agree upon the interoperability strategy, resources, and timeline. Healthcare organizations must be aware that those adopting interoperability may have never dealt with patient-centric analytics, partners, or departments before. It is essential to prepare the resources and the schedule accordingly.

Convey the vision, expectations, and expected return

Interoperability implementation is a large-scale change management project that needs top-down leadership, championing, and adequate expectation-setting. Communicate where the company stands now regarding interoperability abilities and where they want it to go. It is also essential to describe how the organization intends to achieve its intended future condition.

Examine workflows and identify specific use cases

Every sort of ADT event in the company and the workflows and system interactions that go with it must be examined. Consider different types of clinical use cases, the sorts of data that will be transmitted, and the people delivering patient care.

Rigorously prep the data

The core of successful interoperability is standardized data gathering and reporting that provides high-quality data. Determine that the data in the organization is accurate and meaningful and that it will be understandable and beneficial to the patients.

Think big-picture differentiation

Nothing in the ONC and CMS interoperability guidelines says businesses have to stop at just following the rules. Embrace the goal of interoperability as a one-of-a-kind chance to lead the market as a patient-centric leader. Inform everyone who needs to know about the success.

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