Healthcare Data Interoperability is when data can be freely exchanged between two or more systems and used by various stakeholders for easier access to health information. Healthcare management systems (HMS) and electronic health records (EHRs) work together as a single integrated unit to seamlessly share and interpret health data. The data can be accessed by similar systems in outside facilities, making the Continuum of Care accessible throughout and across different hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, and clinics. Patients become more engaged in their treatment plans, and providers can leverage large amounts of health data to create care plans that consider all aspects of a patient's medical journey.
According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), interoperability means "the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities."
Interoperability modernizes systems communications for better and quicker access to patient files across multiple healthcare facilities by using a common language. Hospitals, labs, and patients can easily share data according to content standards that guide data exchanges and transport standards that guide health information formats. Health information exchanges are made secure with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidance.
FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) facilitates Healthcare Data Interoperability, which provides common data structures that one or more healthcare systems use to transmit data to external systems. Data is standardized to be understood across different information systems, providing a unified environment for multipart data exchanges. Data becomes easily accessible across multiple healthcare systems.
FHIR can also use APIs to enhance the connection between two separate healthcare systems, making data exchanges smoother through commands from a standard interface.
Health data must be accessed, shared, and secured across the care continuum, within the correct application settings, and with appropriate stakeholders. The health data exchange architectures and application interfaces perform the following functions:
Healthcare IT will continue to evolve with the changing demands of systems operations and data accessibility. Today, the number of connected healthcare systems is ever-increasing. Hospitals have multiple systems and user-operated medical devices that need to connect, exchange, and store data using common standards.
There is growing demand to overcome the fragmentation of various healthcare technologies to improve the utilization of clinical data and increase operational efficiencies.
Healthcare data interoperability removes complexities and manual steps, helping format and organize information to reach the correct access point to help providers make quick and accurate decisions.
Healthcare Data Interoperability can benefit healthcare organizations in the following ways: