Healthcare Data Interoperability

In the world of digitization, how frequently do your providers and patients get frustrated with handling and sharing piles of documents in the conventional way? That must be very often and so healthcare facilities are merging with the concept of interoperability to rise above their competitors and be top-notch in the industry.

Starting from solving the hassle of patients to move prescriptions between different hospitals, file health insurance claims by manually arranging documents, take reports from diagnostic labs etc. to the hassle of providers to have access to all data points of patients’ medical history for mitigation of medical errors to low productivity of staffs resulting from increased amount of same data being redundantly entered- interoperability is one of the most underutilized concepts in the healthcare structure of the world with serious untapped potential.

Interoperability FHIR HL7 EHR

So what interoperability basically is? Interoperability is simply the ability of devices and systems to exchange and use electronic information from other devices and systems without special effort on the part of the user. Interoperability in healthcare also referred to as healthcare data interoperability includes the technologies used in patient care to enable the sharing of data to meet the goals of delivering personalized care and effective population health management. It helps better data exchange with other systems, helps safeguard patient data, reduces cost and is built to deliver better quality of care and improved patient experience.

A secure, smooth bridge with outside affiliates and systems along with interoperability within a facility offered by Alstonia is a wonderful feature when patients move to a different location or need to change their healthcare provider, for example. It solves the problems of forgetting the details of the line of treatment given to a patient over time, the name of the medicines, the kind of changes it brought about in a patient’s condition or in other words- finding old prescriptions. With a proper electronic database made feasible by Alstonia, the new doctor will be able to pick up right where the previous doctor left.

Just like this, integrated healthcare IT system can mitigate various problems encountered in patient care. Let’s look at some other solutions by our seamless technology…

Suppose a physician sends a patient for a MRI Scan in the diagnostic lab, it would be time-consuming and an overall hassle if the radiologist don’t use the same software internally. Interoperability allows uniformity in transmission and reception of information that can be of vital importance in the course of healthcare provided to a patient and in this case- easy and immediate sharing of reports.

In a different scenario, when a patient goes to a pharmacy with regular prescription, it takes time for it to be filled by a pharmacist depending on how busy the pharmacy is or how messy the doctor’s handwriting is. Thanks to healthcare data interoperability, providers or the organization can communicate with the patient’s pharmacy with electronic prescription with no hassle. With electronic prescription transfer, made possible by outstanding interoperability features of Alstonia, the pharmacist doesn’t need to spend time trying to decipher a doctor’s messy handwriting since the provider is sending out a digital version. The RX can go out to the pharmacy before the patients have even left your waiting room, saving time of patients because the medication can be dispensed while they are en route.

It’s known that patient’s convenience is the heart of consumerism. Better data exchange with healthcare facilities and digitization of such data as healthcare bills can save time, reduce stress and increase patient’s convenience as they won’t be bound to submit their healthcare bills as hard copies in different formats to the insurance company.

Beside better data exchange with other systems, protecting patient privacy and securing their sensitive data is another top priority of healthcare business. Interoperability in healthcare, with different standards and protocols that Alstonia provides helps to protect patients’ information besides introducing a range of healthcare solutions. Instead of employees having to type in the same information about a patient multiple times, which is not feasible and introduces a huge risk of medical errors, the system accesses the details it needs, such as from the Electronic Health Record or EHR system. The fewer people who touch and update patient details, the less chance there is of the information going astray and into the hands of criminal hackers.

Lastly, when interoperability enables the transfer of accurate information from one channel to another, the cost incurred in medical treatments such as incurred from repetitive tests becomes relatively lower.

Today we have a plethora of different health standards being followed often with different variations across different countries. The most prominent ones among these are:

  1. HL7 V2
  2. HL7 V3 - STU3
  3. FHIR - R4
  4. Other standards are X12, NCPDP, EDIFACT, DICOM, CCD/CCDA.

These standards internally use more heterogeneous data formats for representation, like XML, JSON, character separated texts, binary data. Moreover, there are different communication protocols such as TCP, MLLP, HTTP, FTP, DICOM, SOAP, SQL, JMS, File System, etc. that are used by different EHR software systems.

Overall, navigating through hundreds of EHR platforms and softwares which use various different formats and protocols to manage health records is challenging, and at Alstonia we are on a mission to bring together healthcare data across all different standards, protocols, platforms and providers for improved patient and provider experience.

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West Bengal, India

West Bengal, India