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Assignment: Addressing Challenges with Interoperability
Assignment Addressing Challenges with Interoperability
In the current healthcare system, the consistently growing technology is becoming a big challenge. Interoperation has posed a significant impact on the healthcare delivery for both the care provider and the patient. For its significance to be well understood, it is important for providers to appreciate its present landscape. Currently, healthcare providers are facing several challenges such as data sharing restrictions, costly interface fees, lack of standardized data formats especially in disparate systems, reduced reimbursements and resource and time constraints (Randall et al., 2018). Combining all these items with the need of moving towards value-based care, it is necessary to solve these challenges.
The Problem with Lack of Interoperability
For example, in the previous healthcare facility that I used to work, laboratories and the entire healthcare system were making substantial operational and monetary investments in the engines interface and development resources with the intent of making the EHR software communicate to the laboratories. The healthcare facility had other complex requirements that if the implementations of the interface were delayed, there would be additional costs in hiring expensive labor to complete the project (Adler-Milstein, 2017). Every time a team was formed to develop and implement these interfaces, tremendous amounts of resources and time would be spent, even when other hospitals were benefiting from the interoperability systems. Unfortunately, as the challenge remained unresolved, the hospital continued to allocate vast portions of its budget towards the project even when they were already strapped.
Workflow and Structure
EHR has done a tremendous job in capturing, storing, and transmitting data. Their shortcoming is, however, exposed in clinical workflows. Let’s say a patient visits the hospital in subsequent years and receives treatment from their primary care provider as required and their records stored. When the same patient comes back after several years, and their primary caregiver had used different EHRs documents, then it will become very difficult to track down the course of treatment of this patient in the past years (Ross, Stevenson, Lau, & Murray, 2015). With interoperability between these EHR systems, the patient will not only experience improved care but also reduced tests and costs with perfect care plan based on previous medical history.
Potential Solutions to the Problem
To manage these challenges, there is a need to reduce costs wherever possible for future profitability and success for both the
ambulatory practices and the healthcare system. Costs can be reduced through the implementation of the right interface strategy. Modern health engines which act as a central hub for all the hospital transactions are available for enterprise-wide interoperability as evidenced by the work of Randall et al. (2018). With such technology, the hospital’s labs, clinics, and radiology centers will stop reinventing the old wheel and begin to reuse interfaces that are already developed. Additionally, they help to reduce hiring costs of interface developers who request high salaries and ambiguous interface engine fees.
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Utilization of referral systems can also help the healthcare system achieve more interoperable workflow. Referral systems help in streamlining the flow of patient’s referrals among providers enhancing communication and the relationship between all healthcare providers while coordination patients care. Theses referral systems are integrated with both ambulatory and acute EHRs hence facilitates interoperability for sharing patients and clinical data. Retrieving and storage of data have been crucial to patient care (Ross, Stevenson, Lau, & Murray, 2015). With proper access and transfer of information, healthcare providers will not only be able to consult but also maintain a good relationship with their patient, hence providing high-quality care, of which the patient has been a part of.
For a permanent solution, I would recommend for further advancement of the system. The enterprise-wide master patient index (EMPI) system was designed to maintain an accurate, consistent, and current medical data of the patient and demographic data across several healthcare departments. The system has been used by a number of healthcare organizations and has proven to positively impact workflows, reduce costs, and transform health towards patient-centered care. The matching capabilities of patients and the EMPI systems will also result in a more significant change in the patient’s experience and clinical workflow. The primary outcome of these advancements will provide a complete picture of the future health of the patients by helping providers spot and bridge the gaps in patient care (Ross, Stevenson, Lau, & Murray, 2015). Consequently, these advancements also provide insight into patients suffering from chronic illnesses, helping in reducing readmissions, and assisting in the calculation of risks adjustment scores for medical advantage.
In conclusion, as interoperability helps in enhancing providers’ workflow, it also helps in making the patient feel more involved in their own care. It is thus very important to overcome the challenges faced in order to advance the system for maximum benefits. Additionally, advanced technical opportunities and steps to further interoperability will help most healthcare organizations reduce costs and sustain productivity while at the same time maintain focus towards the patient. Based on the actual connection between systems which provide actionable data, interoperability will result in healthcare providers to offer patient-centered care in a drastic value-based healthcare world.