What Happens After Interoperability is Achieved?
In canvassing many healthcare organizations to determine how they are approaching the requirement for patient health data interoperability, a significant trend is noticed. The majority of discussion and analysis is centered on what needs to be done in the next twenty-four months to achieve compliance. Which is, of course, one of the major considerations.
However. All medical organizations, both providers and payers, also have to set their view on what happens after compliance is achieved. Because in many ways, Pandora’s Box is about to be opened and the need to prepare could not be greater.
Achieving compliance is a relatively straight-forward process: the adoption of healthcare data standards has made interoperability achievable through a technical process of adopting API’s-application program interfaces, a standard of cloud computing-to connect their EHRs with required data sources. But much like the introduction of software-a-service (SaaS) in the early 2000s, organizations need to prepare for a precipitous change in how patient health data is managed.
Here are some of the major considerations:
Data Security & Governance: It becomes even more imperative that as you enable your patient health records to become interoperable and accessible to ensure the integrity of that data.
Considerations like consent management must be an automated process, or else your operations and clinical teams will be overwhelmed with requests to accommodate a variety of situations. As if these groups aren’t already burdened enough, adding any complexity at this time is one of the worst things that you can do in a time where revenue cycles need to be ramped up.
Therefore, the choices you make as an organization must be coordinated between the business and clinical functions and aligned with the technology execution. A data security architecture with a strong governance methodology is one of the primary requirements of the post-interoperability phase.
Demand Management: When the effect of patient health data interoperability is first realized, there will be an immediate rush to utilize this new status in more ways that can possibly be imagined. Researchers will rush to request access petabytes of clinical outcomes to assist in their particular focus. Payers will retool their vast proprietary systems for assessing medical procedures and financial processes. Software developers will be absolutely invigorated to develop new applications and ways to leverage this incredible access to extraordinarily valuable data.
How are you going to manage this?
Demand management principles have been proven and battle-tested in industries like the financial industry, where platforms such as CRM became exponentially more intuitive with the advent of data integration and machine-level learning. Organizations launched centers of excellence models to control the appetites of all the different constituents that looked to access the data, and demand management became a principle process for triaging the requests so that they could effectively be accommodated. This business discipline will need to be adopted into the healthcare industry.
Innovation: And now comes the fun part. After you have correctly architected your environments to secure and manage patient health data, you can now plan for innovation. Innovation is the most promising aspect of the post-interoperability phase because now organizations will be able to dramatically change the approach to virtually every major medical discipline
The obvious example is the global response to the Covid pandemic. The ability to aggregate and achieve molecular level learning mode on how to combat the disease and understand its effects will be greatly enhanced post interoperability when millions of data records can be examined. All infectious diseases will now be afforded the same scrutiny and preparation so that we can limit and control future outbreaks.
And it doesn’t stop there. Pick your affliction: heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s-every single individual research and efficacy process will be greatly enhanced in the post interoperability world. Dozens if not hundreds of new applications will be developed to contribute to a new Personal Lifecycle Health Portfolio that will benefit all of us as patients; because we are all patients, and the greatest objective of all of this is the focus on the patient and how to take advantage of the data that has been locked in silos for a very long time.
Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. Innovation is a planned event, it will be part of your entire Interoperability Strategy. All three of these major considerations are critical components to that strategy, and should be prominent features of your discussions.