Case-Assignment: Usability and Interoperability

Case-Assignment: Usability and Interoperability

Case-Assignment: Usability and Interoperability

Case-Assignment: Usability and Interoperability

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Week 3 discussion Opportunities for Improvement with Usability and Interoperability Usability and interoperability are major issues to consider in the development of Healthcare Information Systems (HIS). How do your organization’s systems address these issues in terms of transfer of information versus re-entry at various points in the system (emergency department, inpatient, and home care)? With the knowledge you have gained from your readings, what evidence-based suggestions will you make to improve your systems?

A simple Google search for “interoperability medical records” generates a staggering 4.3 million returns, with content spanning the past 10 years. The prospect of interoperability anticipates a new era of streamlined health care delivery, one where providers have ubiquitous, easy access to data that dramatically enhances the quality of care, reduces costs, and improves countless lives.

Still, building systems that are truly interoperable has taken much longer than anyone anticipated. Thanks to the efforts of CommonWell and Carequality, we have reached a time where it is possible for providers to access some information across venues of care. However, the usability of that data is still quite variable, particularly in the post-acute arena, where care is delivered in the home, and in other facilities outside the hospital setting.

The question post-acute leaders should be asking isn’t just how to integrate, but rather before they integrate, what is the usability of the data they are sending. This is a subtle but important shift in the way we approach interoperability that moves us beyond our current focus of “just get connected.”

This is why the health care information technology (HIT) industry is obligated to do better by delivering on meaningful and consistent data exchanges that enable providers to make effective use of the data received. Providers and patients demand more. The onus is on HIT providers to pioneer this next-level interoperability across post-acute care.

Post-Acute Progress

While 2018 delivered some notable milestones in data exchange that drew the health care industry closer to achieving interoperability, it failed to see true industry-wide integration. From new partnerships and pledges, to forums and innovation, the year was filled with interoperability building blocks. That is why leaders continue to spend so much time thinking and talking about the significant disconnects across our health system – disconnects that will continue to impact patient care outcomes if not resolved.

Goals that were once wishful thinking for interoperability in post-acute care are now slowly being realized through the integration of new technologies and industry standards. Look no further than CMS, which recently changed the name of their Meaningful Use program to “Promoting Interoperability.” Further, CMS’s website highlights a variety of post-acute pilot programs that are beginning to demonstrate more advanced levels of interoperability.

Defining Interoperability

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has developed a definition of interoperability, which the organization describes as “the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.” In addition, they have created a three-tiered model, which offers distinct levels of interoperability: foundational, structural, and semantic.

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