Interoperability Importance in a Developing Digital Healthcare Landscape

Posted by Mike Fontana on 11 Mar 2015

Digitized Healthcare: Engaging The New Consumer Patient

With all of our discussions around the need to further develop Consumerism and how patients, providers, and payers engage each other, the creation, growth, and processes regarding health information technology development are so important as we have mentioned in previous blogs. With an increased digital landscape and mindset, it is important to not only allow the market an unobtrusive canvass but encourage and reward the further development and uses of technology.

As this continues to happen, developing the means of interconnecting these disparate systems and solutions will be increasingly important in order to get to what are the expected results, which are satisfied consumers with the best health outcomes and wellness as could be garnered.

These connections will be necessary from both internal and external operations relationships. Internal can be both an intra-mode (internal to a hospital) and inter-mode (internal to a healthcare system). For external connectivity, we need to examine how well information is shared both direct (patient, provider and payer) and indirect (provider/payer/patient and the data aggregator).

Let us also make sure that when we speak of data we are talking about what is done with the information. As a person who spent much time on the financial side of organizations, I was many times inundated with it, much of which I found unneeded. To me that was costly and I looked at much of it as overhead. But the data I found necessary had to be timely, accessible, and usable in order for me to get the most from it.

With this increasing need for information and data sharing from these internal and external systems, I find you will hear 3 words constantly used when interoperability is being spoken about. They are Efficiency, Quality, and Right.

Efficiencies are what are necessary in order to do more engagement with fewer revenue resources per patient. Some will say that this is defined by the need for cost containment, but I like to think about it as more cost-effectiveness, getting the most from your buck. Quality is mentioned with better outcomes and improved or desired results and, let us not forget, consumer satisfaction. Right is spoken about in the context of having the right information, at the right time and in the right place.

Going forward, new value-based payment models from bundled payments, and advancing to adjusted capitation, will push forward the need for increased technology and operability, as well as models of care including Accountable Care Organizations and Patient Centered Medical Homes. With these changes, the individual consumer must be at the center of the focus, with their EMR, and a new industry mentality around communication and wellness.

In order to make this new relationship successful with the consumer, with changing value propositions where the individual can determine how, where and when they will be accessed, from a single transaction to ongoing monitoring, patient-facing technology must continue to be developed and integrated into the daily workflow of the provider. This means how organizations communicate with all of the participants in the chain, even when their workflows may be very different, has never been more important.

Patient-facing technologies on both the clinical and administrative sides are more necessary than ever, with data sharing interconnections. Whether standards need to be developed to ensure the flow of information, in addition to general data access and the increased ability to be interpreted, flexibility to allow for ongoing development will be important.

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Mike Fontana Healthcare Industry Executive Mike has served in various roles for Consumer Directed Health Care Technology companies. His background also includes Management, Market Development, Consultant, and other roles for healthcare providers, financial institutions, and payers. Mike holds an MBA in Finance from Pace University in New York.

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