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How process interoperability is changing healthcare

I have seen a great progression in interoperability over the last 10 years, but the healthcare industry is still behind in adopting the latest cutting-edge technology. People are accustomed to having interactive notifications that form a singular experience. That level of interoperability in other industries has forced healthcare to adapt.

In a recent Allscripts On Call podcast series, I discuss the existing technology framework that can exceed patient expectations and overcome industry challenges. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. Why patients’ demands are often never met

Patients want to have monitoring and care driven for them, but often they are the interoperability solutions. Much of this work is on the patients to be their own advocates and determine where they go next, and it is hard to ensure that new caregivers will know their situation once they show up.

Interoperability is more than how many external documents you can access. Having an excess of data increases clinician burden and doesn’t usually meet the patient’s expectations.

2. How process interoperability can better meet patients’ needs

One of our clients said a long time ago, “I expect you to tell me what I don’t know about the patient without me having to ask for it, and then tell me what to do about it.”

Providers want to make sure that each step of the care process interconnects as the patient goes through the whole care continuum. This builds layers of care, eliminating the need to call the previous provider because they will have the information needed to proceed. Organizations are looking to deliver on this overall level of process interoperability.

3. Why process interoperability is the new reality

The framework for process interoperability has been built, but the next step is content creators (e.g., the electronic health records (EHRs), care navigation systems, analytics, genomics) coming together and turning data into knowledge. Eventually any system, vendor and organization will follow the same standards of care to create patient care pathways no matter where the patient goes.

4. How technology can achieve process interoperability

Technology brings data from different sources together into clinician workflows, regardless of what EHR it comes from. Innovations, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, are rapidly using processing power to answer complex questions. Genotypic and phenotypic testing tell clinicians if their care will make an impact on the patient.

For example, clinical decision support from one source may say a patient needs to be on Drug A, but genetic information from an interoperable solution can indicate the drug will have no effect. Physicians can change the course of care, enabling a level of personalization. Then clinicians can track that through algorithms and artificial intelligence and see that there may be seven different paths for treatment. It can predict outcomes, based on a data lake of several million based on patients like this one.

That’s where advancements of interoperability come full circle, in what this healthcare ecosystem will look like one, five or even 10 years from now. It will become higher level and more simplistic, meaning there will be fewer notifications with higher impact.

5. How to improve future interoperability  

Interoperability is not achieved by having everybody on the same EHR system, but through syncing business processes and governance. Creating governance puts the building blocks together for overall efficiencies, then applying appropriate technology and driving utilization leads to success. A successful level of interoperability includes:

  • Identifying your measures of success
  • Directing your team to deliver
  • Leveraging the appropriate technology
  • Picking a great vendor

Organizations are looking to provide much more than what the industry today calls interoperability. Leveraging advancements and turning operational models into real execution will deliver strong outcomes in the new age of the healthcare ecosystem.

To learn more about the future of interoperability, listen to the full podcast series.

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