Video: Intro to Interoperability – What It Is and Why Participation is Key

 

MEDHOST’s Director of Interoperability gives a quick breakdown on one of the most critical challenges facing the healthcare IT sector, especially EHR providers. In this video, Laskaris talks about what interoperability is, how it has evolved, what it will take to achieve, and why full-on participation is important for its success.

We believe nationwide interoperability is essential for ensuring a bright future for healthcare. If healthcare is a journey, interoperability is the key that works to minimize wrong turns in a patient’s care. In the most basic sense, the idea is to make it easier for healthcare providers to exchange relevant patient data and track patient care—no matter where they go.

Interoperability can be a powerful tool for all healthcare providers, but even more so for rural and community hospitals. Often the patient populations served by these smaller hospitals have no choice but to seek care from facilities using independent health data networks. Interoperability, along with healthcare information exchanges (HIE) can work to improve care transitions for both rural and community hospitals, which can lead to better health outcomes for a critical patient population.

Interoperability is a patient-focused enterprise designed to ensure seamless care continuity. It’s a healthcare initiative that has far-reaching applications and a new concept MEDHOST is helping support.

If you have questions and want to learn more about how MEDHOST is promoting interoperability, feel free to email us at inquiries@medhost.com or call us at 1.800.383.6278.

Transcript

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Hi, I’m Brian Laskaris, Director of interoperability at MEDHOST once I was asked how I would explain interoperability to a five-year-old. And even though it’s a big word with eight syllables it’s really focused on one core goal: making it easier to exchange relevant patient data and track the patient’s progress throughout their care.

This is especially important for community-based providers. Unlike large urban health systems with hospitals and clinics that are typically on the same EHR, rural patients may transition from a local facility to a hospital in another city and state. And then back to their primary care physician. All of which may be on different EHRs. And at every exchange their health information should be easily accessible and shareable.

I like to use the analogy of interoperability being like the departure and arrival boards airports use to guide travel. Interoperability offers better visibility into a patient’s journey, where they’ve been and where they need to go. However, controlling this amount of health data won’t happen overnight and not through a single tower. The transition from paper-based records to EHRs is still relatively recent. In 2008 there was only a 10% adoption of EHRs. But the HiTECH Act in 2009 helped to accelerate that. Adoption was the first step, and now TEFCA is helping accelerate the next step, which is different EHRs sending and receiving patient information in a standardized manner across networks. TEFCA which is the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement has outlined six guiding principles for the health care industry to use to accomplish this.

At MEDHOST, we believe these six principles are essential for achieving industry wide interoperability. As facilities prepare their own interoperability initiatives, fueled by these core TEFCA principles, we’d like to suggest one additional idea. Call it a seventh principle, and its participation. Promoting interoperability is an important part of improving the future of health care in America, but it can’t be solved by just the government and individual entities alone.

It will take a team effort. MEDHOST is all in on the move towards interoperability, constantly seeking out new ways we can expand integrations for our each EHR solutions and health care technology platforms. But ultimately, we’re committed to this because we want to help our customers provide the best possible clinical care to the patients and communities they serve. And we look forward to partnering with you to achieve this goal.