Interoperability – or rather a lack of interoperability – remains a dilemma for many healthcare organisations.  

Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices and applications to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner. 

Why is interoperability important in healthcare? 

Interoperability in healthcare leads to quality patient care, as data can flow seamlessly across the continuum of care and be accessed by relevant parties when needed.   

Benefits of healthcare interoperability  

Here are six ways interoperability improves healthcare delivery and patient experience through better information data exchange.  

Interoperability in healthcare improves clinician efficiency 

With a comprehensive view of each individual patient, pulled from both traditional and non-traditional sources, health providers can make a better assessment of the patient and deliver better care.  

Interoperability can enable safer transitions of care 

Patients with chronic conditions or those who are transitioning from hospital to community care require continuity of care for optimal health results. Interoperability enables safe transitions by allowing multiple health providers to access relevant patient information in a timely manner. 

For instance, a patient discharged from hospital visits the GP for an illness. The GP can see a full medical history of that patient, their recent procedures and medications prescriptions from the hospital and can then organise treatments accordingly. 

Interoperability can save time 

If a patient changes their healthcare provider, interoperability can help save time. A patient may forget details of their treatment, types of medication and relevant lab results. With interoperability, this information is easily transferred between providers and viewed by the current healthcare provider.  

Interoperability can help lower healthcare costs 

A patient who has had some lab tests recently done under their regular GP’s direction does not need to retake a blood test if they decide to visit another clinic shortly after that. The GP can view the recent test results and make clinical decisions, saving time and cost of doing more unnecessary lab tests.  

Interoperability maintains patient privacy 

Patient privacy is critical in the health sector. The right to doctor-patient privacy can benefit tremendously with interoperability. Cutting the need for clinical staff and manual updating of patient records means patient privacy can be maintained effectively. 

Interoperability means a reduction in errors 

Data accuracy in healthcare is crucial to avoid treatment or medication errors, as in some instance’s medication errors can occasionally pose serious health threats.  Records that are successfully exchanged across systems, typically following international standards, are guaranteed to meet data quality, thereby limiting the chance of such risks. 

How can Orion Health help? 

Orion Health believes in putting the patient at the heart of every decision.  

Amadeus, Orion Health’s health information platform, support a range of interoperability standards, exchange mechanisms and international nomenclatures, such as HL7 version 2 FHIR APIs and SNOMED CT terminology. It aggregates data from a variety of settings, giving healthcare providers a comprehensive view of their patients.

Amadeus provides seamless integration across disparate systems to provide a unified view of the patient record, allowing clinicians to turn valuable insights into action. 

Interested in learning more about how Orion Health facilitates interoperability?

This blog is the first in the series of blogs on all things FHIR. The next in the series looks at HL7 and its importance in healthcare.