When it comes to delivering high-quality patient-centric care, two of the most important factors for success include giving clinicians complete and accurate data to support their decision-making and empowering patients with the knowledge and tools to play an active role in their healthcare journey.
This requires bringing together all of the critical information about a patient into one longitudinal record. It also requires connecting healthcare data, tools and services into one single platform so that patients can be full or equal members of their care team – by contributing data to their record and being able to proactively seek advice and guidance on the best action for their health, rather than just visiting their local GP or ED.

While this may sound like a distant pipe dream, interoperability plays a vital role in making all of this possible.

What is interoperability?

Interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices and applications to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner.
In healthcare today, there is an abundance of vendors and systems which means information is scattered across different clinical records managed by multiple facilities and providers. Without interoperability, clinicians and patients frequently struggle to work together due to all of this fragmented health information, the widespread use of siloed systems and a lack of standardisation. This leads to inefficiencies and a lack of care continuity.

Alleviating data fragmentation

Alleviating data fragmentation is a key benefit of interoperability, by enabling systems to work together seamlessly to share information. Thanks to the ability to exchange data using widely accepted and agreed-upon standards, providers can gain access to a meaningful longitudinal patient record made up of data seamlessly gathered from disparate sources.

This means clinicians have a holistic view of a patient at the point of care, improving clinical decision-making and care outcomes.

Transforming healthcare delivery

Interoperability also represents the means to transform the way healthcare is delivered to patients. It enables patients to gain access to their own, complete clinical records so that they can feel more engaged and responsible for their own care and empowered to make more informed personal decisions for their wellbeing.

Platforms such as Orion Health’s Virtuoso Digital Front Door leverage interoperability to make it possible for patient-facing technologies to do more than just surface information. Virtuoso combines new and existing health information, data, solutions, and services into one integrated suite of tools. This means patients can visit one place to access their health records and seek advice and guidance regarding where and when to get medical advice and care.

The time to embrace interoperability is now

Now is the right time to embrace interoperability. The advantages to patients, healthcare organisations and society in general are clear. With better access to information, clinicians can drastically improve their decision-making and provide better, more patient-centric care. With more informed and empowered patients, we have the potential to reduce the burden on the healthcare sector by treating people in the right place and at the right time.

To enable such a future, an open, interoperable approach – where data can be securely and easily exchanged – is fundamental.

Read more about interoperability and why it’s so crucial for the health sector in our latest white paper The Interoperability Hype – can we trust it?