The outbreak of COVID-19 has posed a huge challenge on the medical infrastructure of most countries. The sudden rise in the number of patients and the need to respond quickly to ensure patient care has put great importance on the need for seamless interoperability in the healthcare industry. Providers and payers alike need to consider interoperability as one of the key challenges to address in their digital transformation initiatives.
Simply put, interoperability is the facility for quick access to comprehensive patient data records for the patient, providers, and payers in a reliable and secure way. Interoperability puts the patient at the center of the healthcare industry. It can enable the patient to be fully informed of their status at all times and help providers to provide better patient care.
Challenges for the healthcare industry when it comes to data
The need of the hour is a system that will provide patient data that is live, synchronized, and enables controlled and secure access. Ensuring interoperability is a challenge because there are too many stakeholders and systems involved. There are different types of healthcare providers and payers, several electronic health record platforms (EHRs), and many third-party apps. Ensuring data encryption and security is non-negotiable as patients’ personal data is involved. The legal mandate and the tight timelines mean putting extra load on an already stressed healthcare system. Furthermore, interoperability needs a lot of standardization, automation, and reduced manual intervention. This is not easy to achieve for healthcare providers since using sophisticated technologies is necessary for the process.
Implementing healthcare interoperability
Following are the key aspects to consider while implementing an interoperability strategy in the organization
Patient information standardization
Unique patient identifier
Data privacy and security
The idea behind interoperability is to give controlled and secure access to patient information to only relevant parties. Patients need to be assured that their information is going to remain completely confidential and secure even if it exchanges hands across multiple players, platforms, and third-party apps.