How Healthcare Executives Can Promote Interoperability

By Devin Partida, Editor-in-Chief,
LinkedIn: Devin Partida
X: @rehackmagazine

Electronic health records are increasingly complex. Avenues include centralized patient management systems and remote data collection from at-home medical devices. They amplify data density for healthcare executives, inspiring advances. Vast quantities are essential for diagnostics and treatment research and development with a digital-first focus.

Collating information from disparate sources causes roadblocks in the medical industry’s digital transformation, from payment systems to ER test transfers. Healthcare executives must spearhead IT and data strategies for interoperability, uniformity and public buy-in. How does this unfold?

Insisting Consistency Revamps Patient Experience

Executives have wrestled with inefficient data management systems for decades. Only 62% of hospitals operate in all four interoperability domains:

  • Foundational
  • Structural
  • Semantic
  • Organizational

Information stretches from paper files to cloud storage, inviting inconsistencies and oversights in patient care. Leaders must pick one data housing solution. Genuine interoperability crystallizes when industry executives acknowledge how much effort reconciliation takes between outdated record-keeping and data-collection systems.

It is doable, but more efficient ways exist to serve patients, colleagues or B2B partners. For example, someone may need to be transferred to another facility. How well does the information from the previous entity import into its digital infrastructure? Are systems equipped to consider OEM differences in medical equipment?

Missing fields result in a delayed or limited scope for recovery options, especially for virtual and at-home treatment cases for those aging in place or with chronic conditions. Patients should also have access to their EHRs and know which data points influence their experience. Failure to obtain all information correctly hinders the workforce and quality of care.

Reassessing the Value of Competitive Advantage

Executives who take time to convey how disruptive interoperability is to timely medical assessments ensure superior patient trust. They start a revolution by joining other managers to homogenize assets and methodologies.

The mentality requires stakeholders and executives to realize collaboration helps revenue instead of harms it. Information from these meetings must be clear enough to translate to insurance companies, governments and stakeholders.

People will always need medical attention. Therefore, executives must ignore financial concerns while working with leaders from other medical facilities or third parties. Trade secrets should be nonexistent and strengthened population health is the priority. Interoperability’s objective is patient- instead of profit-focused motivations.

Asserting Nuanced Data Safety and Privacy

Personal Health Information (PHI) is some of the most sought-after data by cybercriminals worldwide. Interoperability multiplies vulnerability and increases the likelihood of a breach among already inconsistent medtech and management systems.

Leaders promote it by stressing how much data compliance matters to patients and the sanctity of providing ethical medical care. Encouraging interoperability brings IT concerns to the forefront to better protect patient information. Instituting sweeping safeguards is not the solution.

For example, internal defibrillators need unique attention and updates compared to industrial MRI equipment. A hacker may compromise an infusion pump because IT security management does not sync. Collaborating with bioengineers and compliance auditors is the best way to provide customized attention.

Pioneering Comprehensive Regulation

Novel technologies like machine learning and AI enhance medtech and staff capabilities but require legislative reliability. Additionally, healthcare data silos are as diverse as they are fragmented. Regulatory standards must strive to compile best practices for storing, updating and protecting healthcare data amid tech innovations.

Experts must formulate a holistic solution to bridge the efforts of multiple frameworks. The Cures Act is an example of progress in standardizing reviews through the Breakthrough Devices program. However, more must arise with heightened specificity.

Regulations should include incentives. Initiatives like the CMS Promoting Interoperability Program are motivational examples of encouraging streamlined digital transitions. They are vital for a sector hesitant to technological adoption, despite healthcare being an industry that could garner the most from implementation.

Executive Improvements in Healthcare Interoperability

Healthcare executives must communicate with stakeholders the gravity of seamlessly connected medical devices, client management systems and research tools. Meaningful solutions to problems and expedited care happen with devices supporting integration.

Medical services desire to improve patient experiences and advance healthcare for healthier futures. The benefits and discovery potential are limitless when data and device curation align with these intentions.