We can see that nowadays in the current healthcare industry the ability to share patients’ information and communicate properly via various IT channels is coming into trend. Interoperability is helping healthcare organizations to add value to their business by providing support in breaking organizational barriers.
However, in the healthcare structure of the world, it is considered as the most underutilized concept with serious untapped potential. What needs to be stressed on is healthcare dynamics are more dependable and this is creating more room for mistakes. In addition to this, the healthcare industry is continually growing and has become more complex as time passes by.
For simplifying things there is a need to have a proper management system. It involves each person, right from the doctors who are struggling to find time to look for previous records of patients to the lesser-educated patients who may have little knowledge or are not familiar with medical terminology.
Interoperability is providing greater benefits to various businesses, industries, and the public sectors. On account of this, it is increasingly becoming commonplace across different sectors. Let’s get familiar with what is interoperability before we further delve deeper into the article.
What Is Interoperability?
It is the ability of many healthcare IT to cohesively interpret, exchange, and use data. Or the capability of two or many information systems that permit the use or exchange of data across various frameworks. It presents the entire information in a simplified and understandable way after compiling them up.
Hence, this is the process in which patient information is presented to the healthcare providers after gathering them from multiple resources. This can make it easy for providers to access the condition of patients by going through their medical history thoroughly.
Systems will become a single integrated unit when all of them are interoperable by which the health data can flow back & forth. The similar systems outside your facility will enable you to interpret and share information by communicating seamlessly with one & other. To the point, it will build a unified atmosphere for the health data. It will yield millions in savings for your healthcare organization and help you set up the quality of care at high standards.
Types Of Interoperability
Due to its complex nature, it is created upon four levels. One of the most prominent names committed to remodeling the healthcare industry globally is HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society). It has labeled these levels as organizational, structural, foundational, and semantic.
● Organizational Interoperability
It is connected with how various organizations work to achieve mutual objectives efficiently. For delivering quality care services, it is essential to work in synchronization with different organizations.
● Structural Interoperability
This level covers data formats. Systems can recognize what exactly they send each other. For example, to process medication lists, providers and pharmacy systems utilize the same information exchange format.
● Foundational Interoperability
In this very basic level that opens between two health systems, you get the direct data exchange channel. The data that is exchanged although can’t be processed by the systems at this level. However, interoperability begins with this foundation.
● Semantic Interoperability
It involves data usage and handling. As health systems break down and share information, semantic interoperability leverages data in a standardized way. For instance, while exchanging data automatically without human intervention two systems can now distinguish the medication symbols, medical terminology, and other nuances.
It is a huge challenge to reach the organizational and semantic levels. But these benefits are considerable when those levels are achieved.
Significance & Benefits of Interoperability
The need for being uninterruptedly connected has intensified in all fields as time changes and healthcare is one of them. Interoperable systems show the extent to which devices can interpret the shared data and exchange data. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society states that ‘’It is vital for two interoperable systems to present the subsequent shared data in a way that users can comprehend easily’’.
As a result, in healthcare interoperability, the capacity of using shared data and exchanging information from essential sources such as laboratories, hospitals, pharmacies, and medical practices have chief importance. Some advantages of interoperability in healthcare are given below;
● Reduced Costs
Lack of interoperability puts a lot of financial strain on your healthcare business. It also drives up costs when productivity is hit. You may have to face additional pressure on your budget when your healthcare IT systems may lack the knowledge and bandwidth to share information across other frameworks.
Furthermore, professional medical billing services enable you to deploy integrated systems and advanced technology. These digital efforts eradicate staffing needed for manual processing of billing procedures and further reduce the practice expenses. The cost acquired in medical treatments reduces relatively when interoperability facilitates the transfer of accurate data from one channel to another.
● Improve Patient Satisfaction
When your doctor suggests an MRI scan to you and you go for it. Your providers share your reports abruptly if they don’t use the same system internally. The uniformity in reception and transmission of data is significantly important in the course of healthcare services that are rendered to the patients.
● Simplifying Health Records
Client testimonials have great importance in healthcare when patients recommend the practice to others if they get satisfied treatments from their providers. If practitioners witness enhanced patient engagement. Instead of waiting for the patients to find their previous prescriptions and repeatedly running the same tests. They will be able to save time for the actual procedure of planning an action for patients’ health.
● Maintains Patient Privacy
When you benefit from interoperability then you don’t need to worry about data privacy. Best medical billing services enable you to update patient records from untidily scribbled prescriptions and cut the need for clinical staff. In addition to this, if you initially perform accurate electronic data management this will enable you to maintain patient privacy efficiently.
● Reduce Mistakes
Data entry when performed manually can be distorted unintentionally. Contrary to this, in the healthcare sector accuracy matters a lot. It can pose serious health threats when slight and small errors occur occasionally. An individual may mark a report incorrectly and enter the wrong blood group & vise-versa. It can make a life-altering difference, though these mistakes may seem small. Besides, with reliable interoperability, you can avoid these risks remarkably.
Interoperability Is the Future Of Healthcare Industry
During this time of need, interoperability plays an important role in order to enable healthcare professionals to provide attention and better care to their patients. Every individual practitioner needs to take the first step toward creating an interoperable coexistence. That’s why many large and small practices are tending to create a close-knit tomorrow by employing interoperability in healthcare.