It’s a bold statement to claim we know what is not working when it comes to interoperability, but frankly it’s our business to understand barriers to connectivity. Our clients have spanned the country and use cases absolutely vary, but there is a common theme we feel equipped to call out: point-to-point integrations are what’s wrong with interoperability. It has unfortunately been the prevailing belief that integrations — any integrations — are progress. And while we absolutely support efforts toward community connectivity, the promises of these myopic attempts are like a mirage…the destination is never reached.
We have some ideas as to why this mindset continues to let down the healthcare industry at large, and how we can shift the paradigm to actually empower care providers and drive true interoperability that changes…well, everything.
More Data Without Context is Useless
For healthcare providers on the front lines, trying to not only react to the population health crises that have marked the last few years, but to actually get ahead of troubling trends is absolutely necessary. While we can’t outrun disease, we can certainly mount an intelligent response to help drive down cost, increase mortality, and optimize operations to better support impacted communities.
Limited ePHI as a Liability
The challenge when it comes to connectivity on this front is that health systems sometimes cling to new data, any data, without consideration for the true value of a few new metrics. In fact, sometimes data without context and holistic insights can be downright dangerous. Think about when COVID first gained traction in the United States. Initial attempts to curtail the spread focused on respiratory symptoms. Let’s imagine that a hospital spent a lot of effort to connect to just pulmonary clinics, ERs and urgent care facilities. Not a bad approach, per se, but when gastrointestinal symptoms started showing up as a relevant marker in the incubation period, that body of data was missing from the puzzle.
We don’t blame health systems seeking connectivity for their response to a novel, aggressive virus. However, it’s worth considering how the predominant approach of point-to-point integrations is not only limited but can lead to a false sense of confidence in absence of more holistic information about patients and patterns.
Interoperability Cannot Thrive Unless the Methods are Flexible
You’ll hear us say this often, but until pricey and complex integrations take a backseat to true connectivity, we’re inherently leaving data on the table and missing out on representation from the whole care continuum. Long-term and rehabilitative care facilities, as an example, are notoriously excluded from interoperability attempts because their technology is rarely your typical EHR. They simply need different tools and metrics for their own patients, but information about their vulnerable patients is nevertheless vital to the patients’ quality of life, but also to efforts to collectively manage costs.
Empowering all Care Providers with Creative Connectivity Tools
Data sharing and exchange is far more empowered and optimized when various methods can be employed to connect a community. Embracing that some practices are still largely reliant on fax technology will inspire crafting a connectivity solution that meets these providers where they are. Capitalizing on what is possible and practical can go a long way. Technology standards in healthcare IT still vary quite drastically. Flexibility in a tool set to meaningfully pursue interoperability is what will finally move the needle on progress. Kno2 offers this flexibility. Contact us to learn more.