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The Benefits and Challenges of Healthcare Interoperability

The Benefits and Challenges of Healthcare Interoperability

How do you know if you can trust the healthcare system? Interoperability is the communication between medical centers and organizations that will potentially allow you to do so. The benefits of interoperability are simple: accountable healthcare, streamlined efficiency, and more accessible information. However, the challenges of healthcare interoperability, however, aren’t just technical. Often times, these challenges are social, political, and economic. 

What is Healthcare Interoperability?

Simply put, healthcare interoperability is a means to communicate between healthcare centers so that patient information is readily accessible and accurate. However, it is more complex than this.

Interoperability is the ability for two or more systems to exchange and interpret the information exchanged. There are three main types of healthcare interoperability. 

  • Foundational Interoperability- A basic form of interoperability which allows one system to exchange data, but not interpret it. 
  • Structural Interoperability-Data can be exchanged and interpreted at a base level but the clinical or operational purpose of the data is concealed. 
  • Semantic Interoperability- The highest form of interoperability. Two or more systems can exchange information.  Full information on the patient is usable and interpretable. 

Political Obstacles of Healthcare Interoperability

In 2015, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued a report to Congress on healthcare information blocking.  The report stated that healthcare providers and IT developers use of technology was a conflict of national interest.

In 2016, President Obama signed the MACRA (The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act). It aims to establish culpability among healthcare providers and incentivize better healthcare procedures. 

Healthcare interoperability is integral in the quest for streamlined ethical healthcare. There are some, however, who are concerned with security issues. With technology, comes technical difficulties. 

That being said, there are many technological solutions in progress to ensure the safety of your medical information.  

Technical Obstacles of Healthcare Interoperability

Although this should seem obvious, you are not usually worrying about sensitive information such as healthcare records every day. You’re usually worrying about other aspects of life. 

There’s still a trust issue surrounding interoperability and this lack of trust is because there isn’t a specific standard for record sharing. Data is still be transferred with incompatible fonts, proprietary fields, and external data fields. If data can’t be transferred correctly, what’s the point in transferring it at all? 

The good news is, there’s plenty of systems making it easier to sanitize data and make it compatible across systems. Similarly, there’s no standard way of dealing with errors across systems. So providers are having a tough time dealing with technical issues that vary from system to system. 

The technical issues facing interoperability are a bit of a paradox. Most of them could be solved by improving interoperability. However, that’s easier said than done.

Healthcare Interoperability is Still the Wave of the Future  

Healthcare interoperability is here to stay and the exchange of data will become more accurate over time. Improved healthcare and more liberty in choosing which healthcare provider is best for your current situation is just a small part of the discussion of interoperability. Trust is the main thing that stands in the way. 

Since so many people feel slighted by the healthcare system, it’s natural for them to want security. Interoperability symbolizes the security healthcare organizations can provide.  

Check out these other informative blogs on technology!

How Healthcare Technology is Improving Senior Care

How Healthcare Technology is Improving Senior Care

Baby boomers are aging, and as a result, we have a swelling population of seniors. In fact, the Census Bureau recently reported that 13.3 percent of the residents in the United States are seniors. 

As healthcare improves and baby boomers continue to age, the number of seniors will continue to grow. Seniors are benefiting from the growing field of healthcare technology. There are many solutions now available for seniors and their families to manage different aspects of their health.

Let’s take a look at three ways healthcare technology is improving senior care. 

Healthcare Technology – Smartphone

Software companies have worked hard to produce applications improving patient outcomes and ultimately improving health care overall. Seniors can use apps to manage their healthcare on their computers or phones. 

Smartphones alone have led to some pretty revolutionary developments in healthcare. Seniors can download apps that help them keep track of their medication or set calendar reminders. Additionally, smartphone apps that track exercise is being used by seniors to improve overall health.

Another technology that can help to improve health is the use of Skype or Facetime. Seniors can see children and grandchildren who live far away. This type of interaction boosts moods and will help prevent depression and subsequent health problems. 

Healthcare Technology – GPS

Adult children with senior parents have a genuine concern when their parent exhibits signs of dementia and begins to wander and lose track of his or her surroundings. A GPS tracker can be added to a parent’s phone. 

In addition to trackers on a phone, senior monitoring systems now exist that help adult children keep their parents safe and healthy. Children of seniors can also use in-house sensors to keep track of their parents’ movements. 

Bed sensors and motion sensors developed specifically for the purpose of keeping a senior safe now exist. So for example, if it’s noon, and the senior hasn’t moved from his bed, an adult child living states away can call a neighbor to check on his mom or dad. 

Healthcare Technology – Security Cameras

In addition to motion sensors and GPS to keep track of a senior, security cameras are another healthcare technology available to seniors and their families. This technology provides peace of mind by being able to monitor a family member.

When you live hundreds and even thousands of miles away, you wrestle with the guilt that you cannot be there with an aging parent. So you rely on trustworthy caregivers, neighbors, and nurses to provide care. Sadly, not everyone is trustworthy. 

Small cameras similar to nanny cams can prevent a senior citizen from sustaining abuse or deception.  

Healthcare Technology Means a Better Senior Life

Technology is helping to keep seniors safe and well cared for in their own homes or a senior facility. As discussed, the senior population is growing and access to technology is improving the quality of life for seniors.

Contact us for more solutions that help serve our aging population overall.