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Practice management knowledge hub

Is your practice running as efficiently as possible? Discover tips and insights that can help streamline your practice management.

The cost of interoperability in health care practice management

Although interoperability–the ability to connect and interface with other health care organizations – is essential to the kind of networked health care that is the ultimate goal of health care reform, it is also one of the biggest barriers to achieving networked health care. If it isn’t already, achieving interoperability will soon become one of the major challenges of health care practice management.

In a Bipartisan Policy Center survey of physicians that asked about barriers to IT use in health care, 70% of those surveyed cited the lack of interoperability, the lack of an infrastructure for information exchange, and the cost of interfaces and exchanges.1

An ihealthbeat.org article called “The Slow Crawl Toward Improved EHR Usability and Interoperability” explicates this further:

Interoperability of EHRs will become more of an issue as physicians attempt to successfully participate in advanced stages of meaningful use. The meaningful use program has been structured such that each stage calls for physicians to meet an increasing number of requirements, including ones that call for more robust data exchange. This requires expensive, customized EHR interfaces so physicians can connect with other systems. Simply increasing the data exchange requirements physicians must meet in meaningful use will not solve the underlying challenges that persist around the operability of EHRs and HIE…2

How can interoperability be achieved effectively and at a cost that doesn’t break the bank for healthcare practice management? A powerful solution is cloud-based interoperability, in which all connections are made via one cloud-based location—rather than point-to-point—making connections accessible to everyone online, in “the cloud.” With this approach, the process of interoperation is greatly simplified.

This cloud-based interoperability model can provide:
  • Web-native, on-demand software that requires no capital investment
  • Global interfaces that are instantly available to all participants
  • Single set of platform APIs for all classes of interface development
  • Constant updates to ensure the latest in exchange standards support (IHE, DIRECT, HL7, etc.)
  • Network interface construction at no charge to the participant
  • 24/7 monitoring of network, and management of exchange errors and changes
  • Robust base for normalization of outbound and query-based transactions
  • Unprecedented visibility for network members into exchange patterns

1 “Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care”
Bipartisan Policy Center Health Information Technology Initiative, October, 2012, p. 13, http://www.acponline.org/running_practice/technology/bpc_clinician_survey_100312.pdf.

2 “The Slow Crawl Toward Improved EHR Usability and Interoperability,” Steven J. Stack, M.D.
Thursday, ihealthbeat.org, May 30, 2013, http://www.healthcareusability.com/article/slow-crawl-toward-improved-ehr-usability-and-interoperability

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