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Interoperability Healthcare Technology

The Impact of Healthcare Interoperability on Patient Safety

By Jim Rowland

Interoperability in healthcare is becoming an integral part of the patient experience and is paramount for a comprehensive patient healthcare journey along the care continuum.

However, sharing data in healthcare is not as easy as it could be due to the slow implementation of the Health Information Exchange (HIE). Federal regulations, electronic health record (EHR) vendors and providers all play a part in the slow path to interoperability, but patients should not be penalized by lack of progress. Patients should be able to trust that when they see multiple providers at various doctors’ offices, hospitals, pharmacies, etc. their health information is protected, accessible, and actionable.

Yet, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, the four core domains of interoperability, find, send, receive and integrate, are only conducted successfully by 26% of hospitals.

Arguably, much of the lack of sharing can be attributed in part to culture and attitude and not the technical capability to share data. Some physicians prefer to only share information they deem important for the patient to know. Other physicians recognize the value of being transparent with patient health records featuring accurate structured data as part of delivering high-quality care.

Navigating the dynamics of sharing patient information can be achieved through education and understanding. Another challenge for sharing data successfully, that directly impacts patient safety, is enabling providers with a secure way to share authentic data. Most patients see several doctors and each doctor should be aware of what the other is prescribing so they can work together for the overall well-being of the patient and ensure the patient’s safety. Medication data, prescriptions and directions, is often written in free-text fields with natural language, but that may result in a lack of structure or improper terminology, which can cause confusion over medication management.

Properly managing data and promoting interoperability requires a good foundation on which to work. Healthjump offers a seamless way for healthcare organizations and practices to access and standardize data so that the same data can be used by multiple vendors. In doing so, Healthjump identifies gaps or duplication in information that could potentially jeopardize the health of a patient if unnoticed.

Healthjump enables the goal of interoperability, by accessing health information and easily and safely allowing it to be shared between medical practices trying to get information from referring physicians, vendors trying to obtain data to perform a service for a healthcare provider, or a developer with the next revolutionary app that is going to change healthcare.

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by Jim Rowland

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