Interoperability is the secret to effective healthcare - MedCity News

According to Office of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator, 32% of people who went to the doctor in 2018 reported a gap in the exchange of information. That gap included anything from needing a repeat test because their previous data wasn’t available, providing a medical history because their chart couldn’t be found, bringing results to an appointment, or waiting longer than expected for labs. results. This lack of data governance results in the loss of patient data, denying the interoperability that the healthcare IT industry has been working toward for more than 20 years. Below, we’ll discuss the move to interoperability, key takeaways from ONC’s April 2022 annual meeting, and the importance of data backup.

The right data, the right time, the right format

Interoperability means having the right data at the right time in the right format. Interoperability is also a critical component of communication between systems. Not being able to access patients’ health records isn’t just an inconvenience; in some cases, it can be the difference between life and death, which is why managing data and ensuring data access and usability across systems is important. Data should be easily accessible and usable for patients and doctors without unnecessary effort. Availability of accessible data is imperative for provision high quality, efficient and efficient healthcare. Patients should be able to seamlessly transfer their data between healthcare organizations. Continuity of care relies on the interoperability of systems, making the entire healthcare process more efficient for all involved.

Key Takeaways from the 2022 ONC Annual Meeting

April’s ONC meeting highlighted the importance of interoperability for the future of healthcare. Incorporating the acceleration of real-world health evidence into research demonstrates the need and timeliness of the ONC guidance. The meeting delved into several pertinent discussions related to interoperability and the 21st Century Cures Act and access to patient records in critical ancillary systems. A summary of the topics discussed at the ONC meeting is highlighted below.

  • Interconnected EHR Highway

Interoperable systems serve as the foundation for health information exchange highways. Many organizations are adopting Fast Healthcare Interoperability (FHIR) resources, especially because of the 21st Century Cures Act. FHIR was developed to address the growing amount of health data and the need for rapid exchange of this information between computer systems. Under the 21st Century Cures Act, any practice that denies patients access to their data or restricts them from transferring their data wherever they choose is a violation. For this reason, interoperability is paramount to complying with the Cures Act and meeting the needs of patients in modern times. FHIR is the standard that healthcare systems must implement to provide effective, holistic patient care.

  • Effective healthcare starts with easy access and transfer of patient data

The 21st Century Medicines Act also addresses information blocking to remedy the impact of data silos in an organization’s ancillary systems. Implementing multiple systems in an organization can hinder data availability if each system is not interoperable. As organizations evolve and implement new systems, the need to preserve legacy data in a meaningful and accessible way has become a top priority. When legacy data is archived and made available through standard methods like HL7 FHIR, it creates an ecosystem that enables patients and care team members to make faster and better data-driven clinical decisions. Making legacy data easily accessible also ensures compliance with data blocking regulations.

Interoperability is implemented

Interoperability has been talked about for decades. Healthcare organizations are implementing FHIR standards into their existing systems and archiving legacy data. These steps will make health care more effective and efficient while meeting the regulations introduced by the 21st Century Cures Act.

Data management is critical given the vast amount of patient data available. The future of healthcare is unfolding with interoperability and FHIR at the forefront. Access to data can enable patients and healthcare teams to make better, more informed and effective decisions about clinical care.

Photo: karsty, Getty Images

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