The Importance of Interoperability in the Future When Implementing an EHR

The Importance of Interoperability in the Future When Implementing an EHR

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Interoperability in the Health IT industry is progressing every day.  With all of the growth, it is important to understand that older EHR systems may not be fully compatible with newer products that are being developed.  The standards for interoperability are changing, and older tools may not be growing with these new developments.  Although it may be easy to push your interoperability needs to the back burner, this can become a costly and dangerous decision as the laws keep pushing interoperability forward.

tosha-may-for-webInteroperability is important for many different reasons.  The three most important reasons are:

  • Patient Quality

Interoperability can help to improve the quality of care that is provided to each patient by allowing access to all patient information in one place.

  • Workflow Efficiency

Interoperability will decrease the amount of time the hospital staff is spending on locating information.  Everything will be located in one place, eliminating the sea of papers and patient files that need to be sorted through to find all patient data, test/lab results, patient medication, medical history, or test results that have been performed elsewhere.

  • Patient Safety

Interoperability allows all information to be available 24-hours-a-day in emergency situations.  When a life-saving decision needs to be made, all patient information is available for review.

Moving forward, interoperability will provide several benefits.  According to HIMSS, some of these benefits will be:

  • The ability to assist in reducing redundant data entry
  • Improve care coordination between providers and care settings
  • Provide visibility into the “whole” patient by sharing basic medical information across patients care providers
  • Allow medical device data to be captured in the HER without human intervention in the era of eHealth
  • and Enable researchers to use data that originates in the ambulatory setting to investigate new methods of care delivery and personalized medicine.

There are six main areas of interoperability that should be considered during EHR implementation.  When selecting  and implementing a new EHR product, it is important that you take these 6 areas of interoperability into consideration.

  1. Uniform Movement of Healthcare Data
  2. Uniform Presentation of Data
  3. Uniform User Controls
  4. Uniform Safeguarding Data Security and Integrity
  5. Uniform Protection of Patient Confidentiality
  6. Uniform Assurance of a Common Degree of System Service Quality

According to HIMSS, Interoperability is “systems that allow providers to share data among different practitioners, insurers, billing/scheduling systems and health information exchanges (HIEs).”  More simply put, interoperability is the ability for two or more systems to share information.  Martin Sizemore, an Interoperability specialist, describes interoperability as the digital nervous system in the healthcare industry.

The ability for data to be shared amongst different doctors, physicians offices, and hospitals, is a technology that should be embraced especially when implementing a new a new EHR system.  The benefits are clear, it is up to you to take the next steps towards interoperability.

~ Ashley West

For more information about EHR’s and Interoperability, or to have CoreTech evaluate your current systems for the standards of Interoperability and determine if they are as beneficial as they could be, click here.