Interoperability among clinical information systems has become a critical enabler for healthcare organizations’ business objectives such as meeting Meaningful Use, operating as an accountable care organization (ACO) and coordinating care through a patient centered medical home (PCMH).
Despite these critical needs, currently there is no single set of standards to connect EHRs, EMRs and HIEs. Instead, hundreds of vendors in this space each offer its own strategy for connecting with other systems. To exchange data between different systems, healthcare organizations must develop custom solutions at significant cost and risk.
Present efforts to connect systems can be categorized into one of two groups—community-based HIEs and private HIEs. Between the two, private HIEs have gained more traction as healthcare delivery systems have opted to develop interoperability within their own provider networks. For these private networks, the challenge has been in connecting together different EMRs, particularly between ambulatory and inpatient EMRs.
Public HIEs have struggled to achieve sustainable business models. Achieving trust from would-be data partners has been the primary challenge. In many states, the legal frameworks governing data exchange is still not complete, presenting a barrier to acceptability. In addition, many private networks do not see a significant business case that supports the costs associated with developing interfaces with public exchanges.
The T2C Difference
Organizations struggling with non-interoperable systems or requiring new interoperability capabilities cannot wait for standards to develop. T2C can help clients navigate through a complex healthcare technology landscape and choose the interoperability solution that is right for them.
We can help private HIEs think beyond meeting Meaningful Use goals and consider how achieving interoperability will allow them to meet business needs. For example, while the ability to exchange the Continuity of Care Document (CCD) meets Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements, it does not achieve full interoperability between two EMRs. To achieve greater interoperability, organizations must achieve semantic harmonization among its various systems. The following are additional considerations for healthcare organizations that are developing interoperability among their systems:
- Business requirements to support their business strategy and objectives (e.g., coordinated care, data analytics and Meaningful Use)
- Defining interoperability requirements across their organization and their trading partners
- Evaluating the impact of various interoperability options on their clinical workflows
- Evaluating the vendor and industry landscape for development of interoperability standards
Going forward, T2C can further interoperability for most healthcare organizations by advising on:
- Broader, longer-term strategies for achieving interoperability with devices and diagnostic systems (e.g., laboratory, radiology and imaging and genetics)
- Semantic harmonization which allows systems to interpret and act on data (e.g., send alerts and messages)
- Integrating with larger network of HIEs and EHRs
- Achieving and maintaining care quality differentiation while conforming to industry standards for interoperability and sharing data
- Connecting with competing private HIEs directly or through a community-based HIE
Our differentiation begins with a deep knowledge of the landscape, vendors, solutions and platforms. We do not focus on the delivery of a narrow set of technology solutions; we are technologically agnostic, and work with clients to understand their needs in order to develop a solution that meets these needs and prepares them for the future. In addition, we implement our plans so our advice reflects real-world realities.
Are you ready for HIEs?
We’ll make it happen. Partner with T2C today.