EHR (Electronic Health Record) interoperability allows the sharing of electronic patient data between multiple data systems and healthcare providers.
Importance of EHR Interoperability in Healthcare.
EHR Interoperability has multiple user-friendly applications that justify the importance of EHR Interoperability. EHR Interoperability provides easy, accurate, and reliable data sharing. In the modern healthcare system, organizations have to share patient data frequently, and for this purpose, they use multiple programs that make data sharing cumbersome. Interoperability allows easy, accurate, and reliable sharing of patient data so that data is easily interpretable.
EHR Interoperability increases the medical staff’s productivity and, in this way, decreases the overall operating cost of a healthcare organization. System Interoperability can increase the productivity of healthcare professionals by reducing the time they spend communicating with each other using outdated software and replacing paper documentation with digital storage of data that is easier to enter, store, and retrieve.
The importance of public healthcare data is undeniable in the prediction of long-term health outcomes. EHR Interoperability allows easy, fast, and accurate collection, storage, and interpretation of data from all the healthcare organizations of a country, allowing responsible authorities to retrieve data and use it for policymaking. EHR Interoperability is the most efficient technology for the collection of public health data. Due to automated data entry, it decreases the chances of error. Interoperability provides a better data flow as it enters and stores data automatically without the requirement of manual input. This data entry method is time-efficient, error-free, and easy to use.
EHR Interoperability improves the privacy of the patient as it stores digital data. Paper documents must be discarded with care, and any negligence in their disposal could leak sensitive information about a patient. In digital data, access is restricted, and data can be deleted in an error-free manner.
EHR Interoperability enhances patient satisfaction, as it provides access to patient data in a shorter time and in an efficient manner allowing healthcare professionals to analyze data more efficiently. It helps in providing specific services to the patient. In this way, interoperability enhances patient satisfaction.
EHR Interoperability Challenges.
EHR Interoperability challenges involve technical and cultural difficulties, financial challenges, administrative challenges, and IT usability. Some technical challenges to EHR Interoperability are lack of standard development of the system, improper data storage, and lack of data matching between different healthcare providers. The cultural obstacles to interoperability involve facing legal hampering of patient data flow and lack of data sharing by some organizations for competitive benefits. The financial challenges that are hampering wide adaptability of the interoperability involve the cost of developing an IT system, maintaining it, and continuously upgrading it to meet the latest health IT requirements.
Administrative challenges for interoperability include requirements to acquire proper paperwork and frequent reporting for quality measures. These requirements add a high cost to the IT system of interoperability. The most hampering factor for physicians in the use of Interoperability is IT usability. Lack of interaction between interface developers and end-users of the system makes it difficult to design an easily understandable interface and compatible with day-to-day use.
EHR Interoperability Solutions.
EHR Interoperability solutions for challenges involve Legislation changes, Changes in governmental administrative, reporting requirements, and development of an efficient interface. Legislations changes are required to allow free and seamless data flow. All the healthcare organizations should be bound to acquire, maintain, and provide data of each administered patient in a standard manner. Changes in governmental administrative and reporting requirements are necessary to decrease the cost of interoperability for hospitals. The interaction between developers and end-users can achieve the development of an efficient interface. This kind of interaction is not very much difficult as multiple EHR compatible device providers can work with physicians to develop such an interface in a short time.
How to Improve Interoperability in Healthcare?
Some steps that will help to improve interoperability in the healthcare system involve. The involvement of representatives of patients and their families in the decision-making committees is required to eliminate confidential issues in unrestricted patient data sharing. All healthcare organizations should sit together to build a single platform for data sharing instead of using multiple platforms and add-ons.
All healthcare providers should use a standardized application programming interface (API), which allows different systems to interact and make it easy to provide interoperability. EHR providers and physicians can work together to develop an EMR system that will improve usability and interoperability. The government should provide incentives to hospitals for providing free access to data and penalties for hampering free access. Lack of trust among healthcare stockholders is a significant problem, and life science companies’ involvement can solve this problem.