Interoperability of Healthcare Solutions

Posted by Christian Franklin

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10/4/12 9:18 AM

Interoperability of healthcare solutions, or healthcare information exchange, regardless of whether it is ambulatory or enterprise focused, is one of the biggest challenges in the effort to drive patient-centric delivery of data at the point-of-care.  The essential element required for achieving this paradigm shift is to switch from reactive to proactive data. From what we read in today’s interface and exchange culture this seems like a simple concept; Health Information Exchanges, ACO's, Patient Centered Medical Home, Meaningful Use are all at the center as a catalyst for patient-centered care models.

There are many major issues, however, that are impeding the achievement of true clinical interoperability of data.  We suffer from every EHR, EMR and HIE vendor claiming they have the "magic pill" for interoperable success.  These solution providers are all proprietary in nature and must answer to stakeholders for success.  This is the current business model in which we all are playing, but there is a way to achieve true successful health information exchange between hospitals, individual provider clinics, critical access hospitals, and state run health departments.  They must all find a way to achieve open data exchange in order to drive improvement in patient health outcomes.

It is very important in our economic culture to have the ability to use our currency wherever we travel.  I can go to Europe or Japan tomorrow and have the exchange rate for the dollar not only be converted but I can also use their banking system if I choose.  I can quickly exchange dollars for yen or for the euro. Why then can't I get my medical information from my provider to the local hospital in a health care exchange? “Sure you can,” you must be thinking. But in reality, if my provider’s EMR can't output a standard C32 CCD or HL7 or if the hospital is not participating in the local HIE, or worse yet my care provider is not even utilizing an EMR this scenario is all to possible.  Additionally, the challenge of the amount of data now being captured in a health care organization, especially in the field of Genomics, is growing rapidly.   The ability to find insightful collaboration for improved outcomes is the real key to delivering value.  In a time when we can access our money from anywhere in the world and in whatever form we choose, it should also be possible to access our health care data regardless of the distance.

In order to drive successful exchange of data between providers and payers our data, yes everyone's healthcare data, must be made available for all providers from whom we choose to receive care.  These systems must be accessible by each and every patient with a consent model while still remaining protected and secure.  As long as the providers and payers continue to dictate the rules of exchange, the true currency of healthcare will continue to be locked away by those who don't truly own it! 


Topics: Information Integration, Healthcare