The spread of the virus has put importance on EHR software interoperability under attention. Health technology experts believe that EHR vendors need to work together during these trying times to deploy the FHIR APIs.
Important patient data cannot be exchanged seamlessly without interoperability between separate EHR vendors. There can be deadly penalties if the healthcare provider cannot access patient data promptly. Thus EHR interoperability is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ONC for this purpose has called medical providers and device developers to encourage and promote patient data access using third party apps and APIs. If EHRs were interoperable then provides would not be facing issues regarding patient data exchange under these extremely stressful situations.
Outbreak Reflects the Importance of Interoperability
Interoperability is crucial for reporting outbreak data to public health agencies to give guidance against the COVID-19 pandemic. Interoperability between EHRs would allow medical researchers to easily collect data regarding the virus. This data can be then used to identify trends in symptoms, mortality rates, and treatment options. The information can also be used by healthcare providers to screen methodologies. Interoperability can also make telehealth visits more meaningful by supporting the remote doctor to pull all needed patient records before the virtual session starts.
A completely interoperable ecosystem of patient-driven information which includes data such as age, gender, genetics, past procedures, and medical history will be truly valuable for healthcare providers to provide treatment and improve patient outcomes. Interoperability is an urgency during the pandemic which would allow to unlock and share data seamlessly from clinical trials, lab, pharmacy, and demographic information. An environment that encourages and fosters interoperability improves clinical outcomes and results in administrative cost efficiencies due to standardizing data.
EHR interoperability will allow healthcare providers to have access to comprehensive patient data which will support them to make informed and accurate decisions. Having access to diverse patient data with the ability to mine actionable information could be useful for the United States to track the spread of the virus when there is a lack of COVID-19 tests. This pandemic has shed light on how important it is to take the road of interoperability to manage the virus more effectively.