Integration and interoperability have been hot button topics in the digital health space for at least a decade, as industry pros try to make good on the potential of data collection for improving outcomes — but continuously bump into the barriers to data sharing in a highly sensitive and regulated space.

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New interoperability partnerships and recently released Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) regulations brought these conversations to center stage at HIMSS and ViVE this March. Here are some of my key takeaways as I read the stories coming out of these events:

Actionable data is a critical factor in technology adoption.

Actionable data continues to be the theme of provider feedback in the healthcare tech space — the newest buzzword for this is "insights". Doctors want the industry to focus on summarizing data for them, and only surfacing to the user what can tangibly make a difference in their clinical choices. Too many tech solutions simply add to the information bloat, and require doctors to sift through massive swaths of patient information to identify relevant data. Doctors would rather be using that time to talk to and build relationships with their patients.

Where can we use AI?

It’s a question that the market continues to ask itself. AI has tremendous capability to accumulate massive amounts of data from monitoring systems, only matched by its ability to process and analyze this data. Many see AI as a way to solve the above issue of actionable data, but my gut feel is that there's not a lot of the right kind of expertise out there to match specific clinical needs to specific AI solutions.

Health systems are lost without a map.

The biggest barriers to interoperability are lack of data mappings and disparate adoption of standards. Both of these are barriers we experience regularly on our integration projects here at Babyscripts. Health systems are yearning for "data experts" to help them mix industry and technical knowledge to map their data correctly. Since those folks are hard to come by, many HCOs are pushing software vendors themselves to take the lead on these efforts.

As long as data still exists in siloes, we’re going to run into redundancies and fail to deliver the best possible outcomes to patients. The industry will continue to have these conversations until we can get systems talking to each other and delivering actionable insights for stakeholders. 

Recommended further reading:

Health IT Vendors Announce Interoperability Advancements at HIMSS22

HIMSS 2022: Boost interoperability to survive in value-based care, healthcare execs say

5 steps to push healthcare tech innovation now that data interoperability is here

ViVE 2022: Will the FHIR Standard Revolutionize Healthcare Interoperability?


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