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What is interoperability, and how can independent practices benefit from it?

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What is interoperability, and how can independent practices benefit from it? What is interoperability, and how can independent practices benefit from it? June 15, 2017

For independent providers, providing coordinated care can be a huge challenge. When your patients see specialty providers, or have lab tests, or receive services at other healthcare facilities, the primary care provider can be left in the dark. For high quality, coordinated care, this information is essential in making the right decisions to care for patients.

So, can independent physicians count on this level of interoperability? It’s become a huge healthcare buzzword. But is it available, easy to do, and making a difference in your patient care?

True interoperability would give physicians the ability to actually use the information that is being shared. As an independent physician, you need to be able to interpret data quickly and easily to provide your patients with quality coordinated care.

There are some existing ways to provide information – so in some ways, interoperability is already happening every day. Faxes, emails, and even phone calls provide ways to share patient information. However, digital interoperability, where electronic systems are in sync, is more elusive.

Taking advantage of digital interoperability

Step 1 is using a cloud-based system of updating and maintaining your patient’s health records. This provides the building block of interoperability, putting your notes, the patient’s information, lab results, and other critical clinical data into digital format that can be shared with your patient’s care team.

Step 2 is to use a networked EHR.  Elation’s Collaborative Health Record provides connectivity between all of the providers on a patient’s care team, enabling autonomy for each provider over their own version of the patient chart along with the ability to pull in updates from collaborating physicians when applicable. This enables truly coordinated care among all of the providers caring for a patient.

In essence, interoperability means that different systems are talking to each other, and that helps to ensure that all providers involved have access and can actually use the information they are sharing. As an independent physician, you need access to information and effective technology to be able to focus on your patient’s care.