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Why Interoperability and Integration are Critical to Better Healthcare.

Jan 30

Why Interoperability and Integration are Critical to Better Healthcare.

2017 | Filed in Posts

urgent care interoperability and integration

One of the biggest challenges to the healthcare industry today is uniting the silos of patient data. And not just uniting, but allowing disparate systems to communicate and exchange data in meaningful ways so it can be used by physicians, clinicians, and patients. Interoperability and integration are keys to meeting this twenty-first century challenge.

At DocuTAP we believe in the importance of interoperability so that best-of-breed solutions can be used. Care is better delivered, and healthcare participants are more satisfied, when solutions are tailored to one’s use case. This is why we create opportunities to integrate with—and allow integration into—our solutions. In the end, our products allow providers and patients access to information when and where it is needed to advance the effective delivery of healthcare.

Our interoperability strategy includes membership in the CommonWell Health Alliance (CWHA). The CommonWell Alliance is an independent, not-for-profit trade association open to all HIT suppliers and others devoted to the simple notion that health data should be available to individuals and providers regardless of where care occurs—and that provider access to this data must be built-in to HIT at a reasonable cost for use by a broad range of healthcare providers and the people they serve. CommonWell also provides a national record locator service.

At the end of 2016 CommonWell and The Sequoia Projects CareQuality announced that they would collaborate on health data exchange. This is a critical step forward for the industry and should have a great impact on data sharing. And as members of CWHA, we are able to leverage the new collaboration between CWHA and CareQuality.

As Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) corporate members, DocuTAP embraces the HIMSS definition of interoperability.

Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices exchange data and interpret that shared data.

For two systems to be interoperable they must be able to exchange data and present that data in a way that can be understood by a user. HIMSS breaks interoperability into three levels; each category brings a more dynamic exchange and transforms data to information.

  • Foundational – Allows data from one HIT system to be received by another, but does not require the receiving system to interpret the data.
  • Structural – Permits the “uniform movement” of health data from system to system using data packaged in accordance with format standards so the purpose and the meaning of the data is preserved.
  • Semantic – The ability of systems to both exchange and use information that has been transmitted. In the case of healthcare, this means the structured message contains standardized, coded data allowing the receiving HIT system to interpret the data.

We are committed to the transparent, secure flow of healthcare information across care settings through interoperability and integration—with the ultimate goal of improved patient outcomes. Both healthcare providers and patients benefit from full access to medical records and the ability to use focused, best-of-breed systems. Urgent care clinics are more efficient, physicians’ diagnoses are better informed by data, and patients have a better healthcare experience.