Healthcare interoperability according to the 21st Century Cures Act is information technology that facilitates the seamless and secure exchange of health information electronically. Interoperability is critical for healthcare providers as it allows for complete access and easy transfer of data which can enhance care coordination and thus improve the patient care process.

Interoperability is the buzzword that is used often in healthcare technology and some of us might be a little confused about its meaning, goal, and application. Let’s get started by defining this term and delving deeper regarding interoperability.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability enables different Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software systems to talk to each other. Interoperability helps to connect different information systems, devices, and applications to optimize the health of individuals. The easy share of health information between different EHR software systems supports doctors to provide better care to their patients.

What are the benefits of interoperability?

Interoperable systems have the following benefits for both the patients and the healthcare providers to offer immense value.

  • Health-related costs can reduce
  • Patient care is improved due to coordinated care between providers
  • Patient safety enhances
  • Population health
  • Easy communication between doctors
  • Fewer errors enhance overall patient outcome levels
  • Patients gain more control over their health data
  • Repetitive tasks like ordering of several tests are reduced

The real-time information provided by interoperability options in your EMR software gives the caregiver the exact information at the right time. The full visibility provided by technology integrations helps doctors to provide the best possible care which is the ultimate goal of healthcare.

What are the main barriers to interoperability?

Certain obstacles may prevent interoperability and this struggle needs to be realized.

  • Creating interoperable systems is very costly
  • Different EHR software systems have different interfaces, specifications, and capabilities – All these factors make it difficult to comprehend how data can be transferred seamlessly.
  • Lack of standardization
  • Patient data has been kept private and confidential which makes it unclear as to how to share information securely.

Are there any efforts being made to improve interoperability in the healthcare sector?

Efficient and better exchange of healthcare data is vital in the healthcare sector. 21st Century Cures Act has made an effort recently to address information blocking and patient access and boost powerful API usage to support smooth data flow.

Health system leaders should work together with software vendors to standardize how information is captured across the system. All stakeholders including; healthcare providers, software vendors, and the hospital systems must be committed to interoperability. Interoperable data is revolutionizing life sciences and the healthcare sector and must be given importance to allows healthcare organizations to provide maximum value out of their software systems to support unsurpassed patient care delivery.