Back to All Posts

6 Benefits of Interoperability in Healthcare – Placing HealthTech at the Heart of the Delivery System_GL

Over the past few years, there have been some noticeable advancements in healthcare software, architecture, and IT. However, as medical stakeholders confirm, strengthening data quality still requires a few improvements to make data management more efficient.

A Center for Connected Medicine study revealed that less than 40% of US healthcare providers had achieved interoperability enough to share their health data. There must be a common reason for the lack of consensus on this. Professionals view the US healthcare infrastructure as a web of siloed electronic health records oriented toward providers rather than being patient-centric. Thus, the population and clinicians do not have access to an extensive medical history of each patient. This is also the case in other countries.

To take advantage of smart interoperability implementation as effectively as in other industries, the question arises about where healthcare providers should focus their efforts.

In this article, we will explore some key benefits of interoperability in healthcare that stakeholders will experience to the fullest once they are able to grasp all these focus points successfully. By analyzing what benefits are currently lacking, they can determine how to employ interoperability to meet their needs and maximize the business value.


Table of Contents



The Benefits of Interoperability in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is increasingly dependent on interoperability to manage data efficiently and realize its business value. Similar to a few years ago, billions of dollars are wasted each year due to the lack of interoperability in healthcare. To bring perspective on the benefits interoperability can provide for a healthcare organization, we have come up with the list below.

1. Facilitates easy access to information

Looking at interoperability from the outset, it is clear that it aims primarily to optimize the exchange of information. In this regard, it represents an excellent opportunity for stakeholders in the Health Tech field to become proactive in raising awareness of how interoperability impacts healthcare delivery.

Real-time information allows medical providers to make informed decisions, especially when patients fail to give accurate information about their medications or treatments. By providing clinicians with easy access to medical records, they can gain a deeper understanding of a patient’s most sensitive health information. This enables them to arrive at more accurate diagnoses while preventing misunderstandings and ensuring the continuity of care.

In addition, interoperability benefits patients by empowering them to quickly access their own health information whenever they need it. As set forth in the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule (CMS-9115-F).


2. Improves the patient journey by providing patient-centric care

In healthcare, data interoperability is particularly important, since its emphasis on transparency helps improve the quality of care provided to customers and patients. We have previously discussed the importance of interoperability from the customer-centricity perspective that the healthcare industry is working to address.

When offering patient-centered healthcare services, it is crucial to enable a smooth patient journey experience from the first contact point to subsequent follow-ups. To accomplish this goal, healthcare providers require an aligned healthcare system infrastructure that allows them to work in an efficient environment.

This can be accomplished in several ways, such as implementing an innovative hospital management system based on interoperability. Providing data interoperability reduces redundant administrative work within and outside organizations. Consequently, clinicians will be able to offer patients better treatment plans and interventions and spend less time assessing the patient’s initial health status (allowing them to devote more time to testing and diagnosis).


3. Enhances cost-effectiveness

In the US healthcare system, fully interoperable systems will improve productivity and decrease inefficiencies by billions of dollars.

Even in today’s technologically advanced society, healthcare IT systems are duplicating, standardizing, and inefficiently validating data, leading to unnecessary costs. By using interoperable systems, synchronization and data quality can be managed by fewer people. Innovating the availability of patient data reduces medical malpractice cases caused by misdiagnosis or medical errors. Greater administrative interoperability could also help reduce costs associated with billing and insurance, enabling funds to be allocated elsewhere.

In fact, studies have shown that almost 80% of office-based physicians use an EHR system that is certified. In addition, COVID-19 has impacted the need for reliable, fast, and accurate data management. As more healthcare providers adopt interoperability standards, insurers, healthcare facilities, and patients will be able to save time and resources, thus lowering costs.

4. Reduces errors through automatic input of data

Medical and technical personnel encounter a high volume of repetitive tasks when constructing, reviewing, and validating clinical reporting to match their claims. To ensure these fields align, it is not uncommon for them to write names down and have their assistants search provider portals or paper records. This entire process puts high pressure on those responsible for it.

Manually processing referrals can be particularly challenging for institutions that receive a large number of patient recommendations from other healthcare providers and hospitals.

In such cases, automated solutions that use interoperability functions can be valuable in leveraging data and improving the reporting process. By doing so, advanced solutions eliminate the need to manually enter data into the Product Data Management (PDM) from multiple sources, including the providers themselves. At each stage of the process, healthcare providers can rest assured that integrated and interoperable solutions will ensure seamless data input and exchange without compromising diagnostic accuracy. Instead, interoperability will reduce the duplication of diagnostic tests and procedures, thereby reducing the the possibility of errors and misdiagnosis.

5. Allows healthcare professionals to focus on their core responsibilities

When it comes to interoperability in the healthcare industry, it is crucial to prioritize the end user of the system before anything else. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the medical field require a solution that provides seamless functionality, reportability, and the ability to manage patient requests in real-time for maximum productivity.

Taking advantage of the benefits of interoperability in healthcare means placing patient care at the center of the operations. To accomplish this, a smooth workflow must be provided for all stakeholders throughout the process. By enabling interoperability, healthcare providers can manage patient care across the enterprise without using a separate system, as they used to do previously. An integrated solution makes navigation within the platform easy. Furthermore, a smart, integrated solution may also facilitate interoperability with the provider’s partners.

What does this mean from a business perspective? As a result of the increase in interoperability, a significant amount of time can now be freed up for staff to focus on core business activities. As a result, it provides more value to the facility, and why not enhance the image of how healthcare infrastructure contributes to the wellbeing of the community?


6. Promotes the use of timely data-driven analysis

One of the greatest benefits interoperability can offer a healthcare organization is the opportunity to study and improve patient care based on data trends and past performance. In light of the unified and transparent access to data across multiple locations, healthcare stakeholders can make better decisions based on the analysis of real-time data.

Data from real-life environments that are interoperable can be used for large-scale observational studies on a regional, national, or global scale. These studies allow for the analysis of epidemiological questions and public health concerns, providing up-to-date information.

Moreover, real-world data presents an invaluable resource for AI and ML. Using these methods, researchers can formulate interesting and novel hypotheses by identifying patterns and correlations in high-dimensional datasets, which will then be investigated in controlled clinical trials.

The ability to generate novel medical insights can accelerate research in translational medicine. This will make it possible to transfer discoveries from the laboratory to the point of care more quickly while adhering to industry best practices for population health and safety. In addition, using interoperability in medical research can act as a catalyst for implementing timely evidence-based medical practices and advancing public health policy that considers such approaches.

Turning the Benefits of Interoperability in Healthcare into Assets

The lack of interoperability places an enormous burden on healthcare organizations, significantly so when redundant daily tasks hinder productivity. Further, with healthcare IT systems, a company’s budget may be negatively affected if it lacks the bandwidth and knowledge to exchange data across multiple frameworks.

Healthcare providers who struggle to maximize the productivity of medical staff by leveraging their time on critical patient cases are unsatisfied with the efficiency of their operations. Assume that you are switching insurance plans for a critically ill patient. To complete the transfer process, they must send all their old records, including diagnosis records, radiology films, doctors’ notes, medication prescriptions, and visit reports. However, even if they are successful, the reconstruction of the EHR may still not be complete.

For better patient outcomes, doctors and staff need to work together more efficiently while minimizing the risk of potential drawbacks associated with interoperability in healthcare. A major benefit of interoperability is that it facilitates the collection of large amounts of data about individuals.