Interoperability and the Patient Experience

Interoperability has been a major focus for the healthcare industry for some time now, as it is a key component of revolutionizing healthcare to be more patient-centric. Within the healthcare realm, data and how it is used is truly king. The push for decisions to be made with strong data insights has increased, as government officials have vendor certification to make sure that they are willing to take extra steps and measures so that data can be shared seamlessly. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC-Health IT) has been actively trying to bridge the gap between patients, physicians and vendors in terms of patient data, as it requires equal participation from all parties involved. 

A recent report from the ONC-Health IT has made headlines recently, as it presents data from 2015-2017 in regards to office-based physicians participating in interoperability tactics. This report determines the number of healthcare professionals who have engaged with interoperability within the four aspects: sending, receiving, finding and integrating. 

A noted positive in this report is that it shows a 50% increase from 2015-2017 in providers finding data from outside sources, suggesting that if allowed access, physicians are more likely to search for more information about a patient. However, the report also notes that physicians still struggle in other aspects of interoperability, as there was no change in providers electronically sending, receiving, and integrating data that was received from an outside source. Overall, only 10% of physicians are engaged with all four aspects of interoperability, showing that interoperability still has a long way to go. 

 

A Better Patient Experience

 

Even though the government has taken great measures to assure that vendors and physicians are playing an active role in interoperability, this report demonstrates a clear discrepancy between the availability of electronic patient data and the usage of it. Even with efforts to encourage the use of interoperability practices, ONC still struggles in encouraging physicians to be actively involved. 

“In order to drive better outcomes and deliver an optimal patient experience, providing a fluid environment where patient data is truly portable is critical,” says Adam Jennison, VP of Product for Experity. “To me, this shows that the governmental policies around MACRA have been effective in forcing EHR vendors’ hands in opening up their system, but also points to a gap that I suspect will not be solved by the policy levers that the government has to work with.” 

Even though CMS has gone to great lengths to help and improve interoperability, the system as a whole fails to offer a meaningful experience for vendors, providers, and patients. 

“We need to provide products that close this loop for the patient and make it both easy and useful for them to want to keep their data updated and current,” says Jennison. “To power the patient-centered healthcare revolution, it is up to us as an EHR vendor to make electronic patient data not just available but omnipresent in the system so that it is a seamless, painless experience for providers to view and incorporate available information into a patient’s record.”

Experity is all about making sure improving the patient experience for urgent care centers across the nation. If you are interested in hearing more about how Experity can help your urgent care center with our suite of solutions, contact us today!

 

This resource was first published prior to the 2019 merger between DocuTAP and Practice Velocity. The content reflects our legacy brands.