Imagine a future where healthcare professionals can seamlessly access their patients' comprehensive medical histories with just a few clicks. A future where sharing data between providers, insurers, and researchers is effortless, and where this data can be used to significantly enhance the quality, efficiency, and affordability of patient care.
Welcome to the world of healthcare interoperability - a world that's rapidly becoming a reality thanks to advancements in technology and growing recognition of its importance. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, interoperability is emerging as a critical factor in improving patient outcomes, reducing costs, and enhancing the overall quality of care. It's a world that promises to transform the way healthcare professionals work together, empowering them to provide better, more informed care while also streamlining processes and reducing administrative burdens.
This blog post explores the concept of healthcare interoperability, its significance, and its adoption by the healthcare industry. It delves into real-world examples of interoperability, tackles remaining challenges, and highlights the advantages that healthcare providers, payers, and patients can anticipate from a more integrated and cooperative approach to care.
The key to interoperability: a win-win for all stakeholders
Interoperability in healthcare is a win-win situation for healthcare executives, providers, and patients. By enabling secure data exchange, interoperability can deliver many benefits.
Trailblazers in healthcare interoperability: how it’s done right
In today’s healthcare landscape, there are many examples of successful interoperability in action. Three such examples are the eHealth Exchange, the Da Vinci Project, and the SMART on FHIR systems. These initiatives are pivotal, as they represent a significant advancement in the field of health information exchange, having the potential to revolutionize the way that healthcare data is accessed and used.
Each system uses the FHIR standard for data exchange, which enables secure and standardized sharing of healthcare data between different systems and applications. FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is a widely supported standard that simplifies healthcare data exchange.
Let's take a closer look at each of these systems and see what they have to offer.
The eHealth Exchange is a nationwide network that leverages FHIR to connect diverse health care organizations and agencies, such as large provider networks, hospitals, pharmacies, regional health information exchanges, and federal agencies. It covers all 50 states in the US and serves 100 million patients, representing about 30% of the population. It handles more than 50 million transactions per month, including clinical summaries, lab results, medication histories, immunization records, and disability determinations. It is governed by a non-profit cooperative of its members, who collaborate to develop and maintain the network’s vision, strategy, and operations.
The Da Vinci Project is an initiative that aims to improve value-based care by developing and promoting FHIR-based solutions for quality measurement, coverage discovery, prior authorization, and patient cost transparency. Value-based care is a model of healthcare delivery that focuses on the quality and outcomes of care, rather than the volume and cost of services. The Da Vinci Project has identified 18 use cases that demonstrate how FHIR can support value-based care, and creates implementation guides, reference implementations, and testing tools for each use case. The project also collaborates with other FHIR accelerators and industry stakeholders to promote interoperability and alignment across value-based care initiatives.
SMART on FHIR is a way of integrating user-friendly applications with health data that are stored and exchanged using FHIR. SMART is a framework that enables applications to access and use health data from different sources in a secure and standardized way. SMART on FHIR combines the features of both SMART and FHIR to provide a common method for obtaining authentication and authorization to a FHIR repository, restricting access to resources associated with the user, and granting applications access to a limited set of data by using SMART clinical scopes. With SMART on FHIR, users can access and use their health data from different sources and applications in a consistent and convenient way.
Four opportunities for interoperability improvement in the healthcare industry
Interoperability comes with undeniable benefits, but there are still challenges that many healthcare settings face in its implementation, preventing it from reaching its full potential.
While interoperability is not yet a reality for all healthcare settings, these opportunities for growth offer a glimpse of its bright future.
The main takeaway
Interoperability is essential for creating a truly connected and patient-centered healthcare system.
Healthcare interoperability is the ability of different healthcare systems to communicate with each other and share data. It is revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered, helping to improve patient care, reduce administrative and healthcare costs, and increase patient engagement - a win-win for patients, providers, and payers.