Interoperability: Where systems — and people — connect

by Jeff Plum
When healthcare professionals think about interoperability, they envision an integrated environment where all their systems and devices can exchange information. But when it comes to connectivity, what is the real end goal? 
In our recent study with HealthLeaders, we asked leading healthcare professionals about their expectations for interoperability at their organization. For 81% of respondents, expectations were focused on better communication. Healthcare leaders know that interoperability isn’t just about connecting systems – it’s about connecting people.
whiteboard in meeting

While organizations are focused on system and device connectivity, it is equally important to have the right people and workflows in place for true interoperability. Check out the top ways providers can bring people together for a more connected care experience: 

  •  Digitize the fax queue and documents to create actionable workflows for clinicians. It’s clear that printed documents still have a place in modern healthcare organizations. Even in today’s digital world, paper documentation still fuels certain workflows. But by digitizing the fax queue, organizations can help eliminate lost paper documentation and empower users to direct faxes to actionable work queues — such as the pharmacy or laboratory electronic order queue. Users can also tag faxes so they are electronically matched with the correct patient record.
  • Collaborate remotely with interactive whiteboards. Interactive whiteboards enable clinicians to connect in a more meaningful way than just a phone call, email or fax when discussing a patient’s care. Collaborative tools like this provide opportunities for greater care coordination within the hospital and among affiliate facilities. Any collaborative documents created using the whiteboard can then easily be converted into a PDF file and integrated directly into the EHR for future reference and use. 
  • Eliminate manual data entry. Typically, patients complete registration forms on paper, and the responsibility for inputting the data collected falls to staff. When patients accidentally omit important billing information, staff may not see the error until the patient encounter is complete — and that puts revenue at risk. When financial information is attached to the patient’s health record, the data can be auto-populated with intelligent forms and verified in real time. Front-desk staff can then focus their time on activities that provide greater value for patients and improve efficiency.
By enabling a more interoperable and collaborative environment, healthcare leaders can deliver better care to their patients while driving down costs. 

To see the difference that connecting people with data can make, watch our video, “A tale of two systems.

Connect people and data for better care

Many healthcare organizations are focused on device connectivity, yet it is equally important to connect people and workflows to reach true interoperability. Explore the top ways providers can connect people across departments for more connected care.
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Jeff Plum
Jeff Plum, Business Process Consultant for Ricoh USA, Inc., is highly proficient in enhancing document and information flow and accessibility with an intended goal of improving patient care, the physician experience and operational efficiencies. Plum has been with Ricoh for more than 34 years, with more than 30 years of that focused on the Healthcare space. Plum has an extensive background in Patient Access, Medical Records, Physician Referrals, Pharmacy, Lab and overall documentation content and workflow in both the acute care and ambulatory care space.
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