Poor EMR interoperability and poor access to patients’ medical information are still significant challenges in healthcare organizations.
While data from Definitive Healthcare shows that about 89 percent of all hospitals have adopted an EHR, about 50 percent of physicians are not happy with their access to patient data.
Well, it turns out that you can apply some strategies and tactics to improve EMR interoperability and enhance the quality of care in your organization. Take a few moments to discover and use them.
1. Conduct an Interoperability Audit
Achieving success in interoperability can’t happen by accident. You need to assess your health IT systems carefully and identify the systems that are linked, well linked, poorly connected, and those that are entirely isolated.
Take an internal assessment of your:
- Lab information system
- Radiology information system
- Practice management system
- Picture archiving and communication system
Do these systems connect and exchange information seamlessly with your EHR?
If they don’t, you need to plan for an interface development project to boost interoperability with your EHR.
2. Upgrade Your Information Systems
Most healthcare providers in the U.S. now use electronic healthcare records. But many have not put away their fax machines and other manual printing and communication equipment.
Some providers still depend on legacy systems to retrieve historical records. This is relatively inefficient and propagates data silos.
With the enforcement of the Interoperability Rule in the 21st Century Cures Act, you also need to retire older EHRs to prevent data blocking and give patients more access to electronic clinical data.
In line with the requirements of the Cures Act, your organization needs to adopt industry standards such as HL7 and fast healthcare interoperability resources (FHIR). You need to increase your use of APIs and allow clinicians and patients to have instant access to data through apps instead of printed or hand-written paper documents.
3. Improve Your Patient Portal
Patient portals now play a central role in healthcare. Most patients expect their providers to have a portal to see their test results, diagnosis, and treatment plan.
At the peak of the pandemic, most patients used telehealth platforms instead of physical hospital visits. Now they are more tech-savvy, and they expect to see their healthcare details just like they view their banking transactions on their mobile devices.
To improve interoperability, go beyond providing details from your organization alone. Allow patients to connect to other organizations and view data transferred through health information exchanges (HIE).
Remember that from now on, patients must have unfettered access to clinical data included in the U.S. Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI).
4. Move Your Systems to the Cloud
If you still keep some legacy systems with outdated operating systems, it is time to migrate the data to the cloud and retire your old systems. Cloud-based applications and data storage are more efficient and cost-effective concerning interoperability.
All your cloud-based applications can connect through HL7, FHIR, or APIs without maintaining on-premise servers.
5. Choose Competent Vendors
Working with a reliable EMR interoperability vendor or consultant will help you save cost, time, and effort. It’s like extending your in-house team with interoperability specialists.
However, you must discern and choose a vendor that will help you create and deploy appropriate and scalable interfaces between your information systems.
When you are researching interface vendors, look out for:
- Experience, not just in terms of years but in the number of successful projects completed.
- Ability to use industry-standard technology effectively
- Capacity to provide a versatile and long-lasting interface solution
- Compliance with all current health IT regulations
- Capability to offer safe and secure data transmission
Achieving full EMR/EHR interoperability is a goal every committed CIO must pursue today. It will improve operational efficiency, give physicians accurate information for diagnoses, and improve patient care.
Get a Reliable Partner for Your EMR Interoperability Projects
Contact Lifepoint Informatics at 877.522.8378 to see a demo of our EMR interface engine. You may also reach us through our contact page to book a free consultation.