Why Interoperability is Crucial in Healthcare Systems: Part 2

Interoperability2.pngLast time I discussed the concept of interoperability and its benefits. Today I’ll share my views on the ways interoperability benefits the stakeholders in the healthcare process.

Better quality of healthcare

Thanks to the interaction of IT systems, healthcare providers are better able to obtain the information they need to devise the best treatment protocols.

Interoperability reduces the duplication of diagnostic tests and procedures. It provides a comprehensive picture of a patient’s condition, reducing the probability of error and misdiagnosis.

Advanced IT solutions facilitate the transition of patients between different points of clinical care. For instance, providers can work together, analyze the data and reach the best treatment decisions.

Above all, interoperability can assist doctors in offering the best possible patient outcomes.

Easier access to data

Since many patients use multiple health services, there are bits of relevant data scattered throughout the points of care. Because of this, interoperability makes the update and retrieval of necessary data easier. It allows real-time access to comprehensive data, without the need to log in and out of individual systems. There is no need to wait for paper records and images to arrive, or spend time gathering and updating data for member directories; it is an entirely electronic process.

Lower costs

The effort to reduce the duplication, standardize, and validate data from various healthcare IT systems leads to unnecessary costs. Interoperability mitigates these costs by reducing the number of malpractice lawsuits stemming from misdiagnosis or medical errors, having to hire personnel to manage the quality of data across systems or keep that data synchronized, and productivity losses due to the inefficiency of non-integrated IT systems. According to estimates, full interoperability can save the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars.

Enhanced staff efficiency

The use of non-synchronized data storage systems impedes healthcare delivery. In contrast, Provider Data Management (PDM) systems positively affect the return on investment and increase overall staff efficiency.

Employees don’t have to waste time mailing letters or spend time trying to contact providers over the phone. Instead of verifying credentials from various licensing web sites, or running queries through the National Practitioners Data Bank, requests are simply triggered, sent and retrieved from the verification sources. The requested data is delivered instantly.

Interoperability reduces the paperwork burden. This means less time spent filling in forms, mailing letters and processing applications. Moreover, PDM systems allow organizations to move to a completely paperless model of recordkeeping.

How do advanced IT solutions help? Advanced IT solutions allow automatic input of information from various sources including the providers themselves, eliminating the need for manual data entry into the PDM. Solutions that promote integration with other technology solutions allow seamless delivery of information to multiple sources.

In conclusion, seamlessly interconnected IT infrastructure is becoming essential to modern healthcare. Even so, full system interoperability still has a long way to go, since many IT solutions aren’t designed to interact with others. In this respect, application program interfaces (APIs) can lead the way to better interoperability by helping systems communicate in a comprehensible, flexible way.

The new API from Cactus allows healthcare organizations to integrate their Cactus Provider Data Management systems with various other healthcare IT systems, increasing the level of interoperability and reducing costs.

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symplr’s Provider Management solution enables gathering and storing provider data to perform primary source verifications, maintaining years’ worth of records, and distributing information across your organization. Learn more about our advanced medical credentialing software at www.symplr.com/products/provider-credentialing or schedule a demo at sales@symplr.com.


Matt Thomas

About the Author
Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas is a Product Manager at symplr in Overland Park, Kansas. Matt has been part of the symplr/Cactus team for over 10 years in roles ranging from training, implementation and technical consulting to business analysis and Cactus product management. Matt works with both clients and symplr development and operations departments to ensure the vision of the Cactus interface applications, web applications, peer review, quality, and event reporting products meets our clients’ needs.

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