Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software systems have been deployed widely in the United States. The state-of-the-art technology of EMR systems can bring many benefits including streamlined workflows, improved patient care, and interoperability. Software vendors are striving hard to make interoperable EHR Software so different systems can ‘communicate’ seamlessly with one another.

What is EMR Software Interoperability?

Interoperability is the foundation of the digital healthcare landscape. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software interoperability is when patient data can be smoothly and securely exchanged in the healthcare environment. Due to interoperability, different healthcare specialists can collaborate to offer high-quality patient care. An interoperable environment ensures that the right data is available to the right person at the right time.

Importance of Electronic Health Records Software Interoperability

When patient data is consolidated and can be shared across different systems better care coordination can be achieved and health outcomes can improve drastically. The smooth connection due to strong interoperability with care plans helps to address any gaps in care and eliminate duplicate testing which can eventually cut down healthcare costs. The market for EHR Software interoperability has grown to $4.2 billion this year.

EMR Software Systems Use Cases

The following are a few typical use cases for interoperable electronic medical records software:

Patient Data Exchange

The sharing of patient data between various healthcare providers, including clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and labs, is one of the main use cases for EHR Software interoperability. Demographic information, medical history, prescriptions, allergies, test results, and treatment plans about the patient are all exchanged in this way in real time.

Continuity of Care

When patients move between multiple healthcare providers or settings, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software interoperability allows for the easy movement of patient data between those facilities. This guarantees continuity of care. For instance, it is simple to transfer a patient’s medical records when they are referred to a specialist by their primary care physician to provide the expert with access to pertinent data.

Health Information Exchange HIEs

An interoperable environment makes way for health information exchange between disparate systems. EHR Software interoperability facilitates care coordination and quick communication between clinicians.

Integration of Clinical Decision Support Tools

Interoperable EMR systems can incorporate clinical decision-support capabilities. This empowers healthcare providers with real-time assistance and suggestions based on patient data. For example, decision support alerts for drug interactions, allergy warnings, and evidence-based treatment guidelines can all be integrated into the electronic health records systems workflow, improving patient safety levels.

The US Government’s Role in EHR Software Interoperability

The US government has a proactive role when it comes to the promotion and establishment of EMR Software interoperability. It establishes standards for data transmission and encourages the use of interoperable EHR systems through laws like the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and meaningful use requirements.

Health IT vendors and all other stakeholders involved are taking initiatives to improve interoperability. For example, Epic Systems has developed the Epic Community Link to offer independent providers or healthcare organizations who don’t have interoperable EMR software to access patient records across the network easily with Epic Community Link.