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Interoperability's not just a key goal for healthcare leaders

by Kash Hatton
 
Chances are your organization has started on its journey toward achieving interoperability.

And while this notion is important to a truly connected healthcare system, you’ve probably noticed there have been some stumbling blocks along the way.

Well, you’re not the only one managing these interoperability challenges. In fact, Health Data Management* recently reported that Congress has asked a Health IT Policy Committee (HITPC) task force to come up with recommendations for removing technical and financial obstacles to interoperability in electronic health records.

As healthcare organizations face new challenges including dealing with increased security threats, managing new technologies and focusing more attention on consumerism, becoming interoperable is likely to ease your growing pains.

This may be exciting news for healthcare leaders looking to get closer to achieving interoperability. As summarized by Health Data Management1, while healthcare leaders can do their best to take steps to secure their systems and close information gaps, it certainly might help to have Congress backing the financial strains of becoming interoperable.

So why exactly is Congress looking to support the journey to interoperability now? It may be a sign of the times. As the population grows and healthcare organizations face new challenges including dealing with increased security threats, managing new technologies and focusing more attention on consumerism, becoming interoperable is likely to ease your growing pains.
 

How you can prepare for greater interoperability?

While Congress works to find new ways to encourage interoperability, you can get to work preparing your organization to effectively capture, manage and transform information for the benefit of your patients and your hospital. Consider the following ideas to help better prepare your organization for the inevitable future of interoperability.

Centralize, integrate and standardize: Assess your organization’s data infrastructure, including your electronic health records systems, archives and other technology, to identify where you can increase efficiencies. By centralizing data storage, integrating systems and standardizing data sharing, you can weed out inefficiencies and improve business processes.
 
Look for — and remove — workflow clogs: It’s equally important to identify all sources of patient and other healthcare information, ultimate destinations of that information, and how smoothly that information makes the trip. Pinpointing and unblocking the clogs in your workflows empowers your organization to capture, manage and transform patient data as efficiently as possible.

The entire industry knows there are hurdles when it comes to meeting your interoperability goals. But with the support of others, such as Congress, we can continue working towards a more connected healthcare system where you can better manage information and provide improved patient care.

Prepare for the inevitable future of healthcare interoperability

Embrace interoperability to better prepare for emerging technical challenges and HIPAA compliance, as well as become more connected, accountable and cost-efficient.
 
Kash Hatton
Kash Hatton, Senior Manager of Design, Ricoh USA, Inc., brings more than 20 years of IT experience to his role in managing healthcare-specific resources for customer across the US. Before coming to Ricoh, Hatton held a variety of IT leadership positions and was responsible for the design and development of content management systems for use in the healthcare, automotive, banking and finance industries.
 
 
1 Greg Slabodkin. "HITPC Gears Up to Tackle Interoperability Barriers." HealthDataManagement.com. July 01, 2015. https://www.healthdatamanagement.com/news/hitpc-gears-up-to-tackle-interoperability-barriers.