Interoperability is like an engine. Like any engine, there are parts and pieces needed to make it run, and there are always additions to improve it. Every interoperability engine needs a quality way to share, interpret, and exchange data within the acute, post-acute, and long-term care arenas.

The necessity for interoperability in the healthcare industry is to adhere to quality and compliance regulations required for modern healthcare facilities. Digitally sharing and exchanging data between providers across the care continuum, as well as to patients during their transitions of care, is a federal regulation in today’s healthcare industry.

Why is Interoperability suddenly a priority?
Maximizing efficiency, reducing costs, and achieving better patient outcomes is always a crucial provider priority. For systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data in a way that the user can understand it and quickly implement it into their workflow.

Until recently there hasn’t been a priority for interoperability in the healthcare industry. This is perhaps due to the “catching up” healthcare is doing in technology adoption. Today, healthcare organizations are experiencing a higher level of scrutiny as they must share information regarding a whole patient. This includes patient visit notes and diagnosis, medications and doses, allergies, nursing notes, mental health assessments and more. These elements are all crucial to a patient’s healthcare.

The technology that makes the interoperability engine run: 
Having the ability to easily, quickly, and securely exchange data from one system to another while solving workflows and efficiency challenges that staff experience is only one section of the interoperability engine. A healthcare organization needs to have a dynamic system that can collect, read, receive, deliver, and interpret the necessary data from one system to another.
Health Level Seven International (HL7) is a set of standards, formats, and definitions for exchanging and developing electronic health records (EHR). Having software that easily integrates with existing systems makes life a whole lot easier – allowing you to maximize your IT investment fully.

Direct messaging is a technical standard for securely exchanging health information between providers along the care continuum. The hospital protocol is to send an electronic summary of care at least 10% of the time when transitioning patients to other care settings. Skilled nursing facilities can get a leg up with referrals with having the ability to seamlessly bridge the communications gaps to improve the overall quality of care and create efficiency for staff.

Recent partnerships that enhance the interoperability engine:
Streamlining wound prevention and management is another piece of the interoperability engine for healthcare organizations. The Cantata Health and WoundRounds partnership provides the ability to coordinate wound management in real time, directly from a patient’s bedside. Interoperability allows for improvedworkflows, reduced time spent on documentation, and automated reporting quality.

The constant challenge around managing the multiple payer complexities of revenue cycle management (RCM) are top of mind for organizations. ABILITY Network and Cantata Health’s recent partnership provides hospitals and facilities a single point of access to better manage and optimize critical revenue operations.

Internal communication that improves the workflow:
The level of interoperability that exchanging and using information among caregivers within a hospital or facility is continuously improving overall quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Reducing human error is also a big perk of interoperability. Because most of a caregiver’s day is spent using an EHR System, staff is able to analyze and act-on different data when face-to-face with a patient. For example, having access to patient medication doses, allergies, and as much patient data from every transaction of care allows caregivers to make fewer errors resulting in better patient management, staff workflow, reduced readmissions, and much more.

With easy access to the right information at the right time, staff can focus on what matters most, patient care. Having an EHR with integrated elements that encourage internal interoperability presents caregivers with quality patient data. A new platform implementation can be daunting for staff, but it doesn’t have to be. Minimizing clicks and saving overall time with a configurable solution helps your team save time resulting in being able to meet value-based care objectives.

External communication that increases the workability between hospitals and health facilities:
Communicating clearly and securely between hospitals or healthcare facilities with external EHR systems and patients is interoperability at its finest.

Across the care continuum, patients go through x-rays, medication changes and additions, allergy discoveries, illness diagnosis, and much more. Streamlining the communication between healthcare entities utilizing interoperability within an EHR system not only improves the quality of care but aides in developing better relationships with patients and makes clinical staff’s life easier.

When it comes to defining and understanding interoperability, the patient experience is often overlooked. Patients are the reason we’re even talking about the need for interoperability, which makes improving their experience a crucial investment. By having digital access to health records from any visit to communicate with new providers gives patients a more defined and unique reason to create a stronger physician relationship.

Choosing the right interoperability tools for any organization is always an overwhelming decision. At Cantata Health, the goal is to ease the selection process by giving providers the insight of unparalleled support, connected networks, flexible clinical workflows, and centralized billing and back-office operations. Partnering with us simplifies the transition allowing you to focus on residents and the higher quality of care they deserve.