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Learning more about interoperability through other industries

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Learning more about interoperability through other industries

Learning more about interoperability through other industries July 31, 2017

In a world of increasing technological capabilities, the idea of exchanging data across systems is becoming more acceptable and even expected in some industries. Information technology (IT) has advanced to the point that computers can virtually “talk” to each other, to share information and to enable streamlined, efficient processes within a number of industries. What can the healthcare industry learn from other industries that have had to tackle interoperability?

The issue of healthcare interoperability involves the concern that EHR systems must be able to talk to each other. While patient data is much more complex with many more individual elements than most data in other industries, the healthcare industry can learn something about interoperability from other industries.

As author Mary Butler writes in a recent article in AHIMA’s HIM Body of Knowledge, the healthcare industry might look to the banking industry as an example in interoperability achievement. Noting that the “industries like finance and telecommunications solved [interoperability] ages ago,” she cites the example of individuals who withdraw money from ATMs.

When someone uses a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM, the machine connects with that person’s bank account by using technology. The money is then automatically deducted from the bank account, regardless of which ATM is used and where the person and the bank account are located.

The healthcare industry is learning and moving forward. To help further the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare interoperability, standards are being put in place through the work of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The Health IT ONC is rolling out initiatives and involving EHR vendors to promote and better coordinate more efficient interoperability.

Although healthcare interoperability is focused on vendors and independent physicians, the patient is also a significant stakeholder in the process. Just as the bank customer wants to have ready access to the bank account, the healthcare patient must have a way to access records and communicate seamlessly with providers through the use of EHR.

Elation is developing solutions, such as the Collaborative Health Record, that will promote healthcare interoperability as well. We are focused on providing independent physicians with the access to patient information they need to collaboratively reduce costs and improve patient results.