Interoperability in Healthcare Could Help Save Lives

We now have access to more data than ever before in every aspect of life, and this extends to the healthcare industry. As the amount of available data continues to multiply, so does the need for interoperability. In healthcare, not having access to the big picture isn’t simply a matter of missed sales opportunities as it is in the business world; it’s a matter of life and death.

In the digital age, healthcare services are evolving. No longer are patients limited to the services of the hospitals in their immediate area. People are increasingly turning to telehealth companies and alternative care settings, and it’s vital that all of these different providers can see a patient’s complete medical history as care starts to shift away from hospitals.

New Types of Health Data

Moreover, the trend toward well-being shows no signs of letting up. This could result in new types of data being generated about patients, such as mindfulness and work/life balance. Integrating all of this information in a central location where multiple parties can access and amend it is a tremendous undertaking, but it’s also one that can have serious ramifications. While the data gained from wearable devices like a FitBit, for example, doesn’t have a big impact on everyday care, disease-specific information like blood glucose levels is well worth recording.

Vermont Information Technology Leaders’ Chief Technology Officer Michael Gagnon believes that social determinants of health could soon start to form part of a patient’s record. This might include factors like accessibility to transportation for healthcare visits, socioeconomic status, or information about their housing situation.

Firms like Epic, Cerner and Allscripts are already offering APIs that can facilitate interoperability, and it looks like more entities will get on board in the future. This could prove problematic for smaller IT companies that have to integrate their digital solutions into the EHRs of bigger vendors. However, many providers believe that a patient’s outcome is affected by the amount of information available to caregivers, so this interoperability is only likely to grow in the near future.

This blog post was based off of an article from Healthcare Dive. The original can be viewed here.

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