Any discussion in health and human services involves lots of talk about integrated systems and “interoperability”—see What’s In A Name and The Future Of EHR-Collaborate, Connect, Communicate. But the key strategic issue for specialist organizations is that to participate in integration, your organization’s data systems need to be interoperable.
What does “interoperable” mean? Interoperability is the ability to share health care data, and interpret that shared data, among organizations. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) explains, “for two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user” (see What is Interoperability?).
Most organizations have the ability to share consumer health information in some capacity, but what data is shared, how data is exchanged, and the ability to interpret this data to be utilized for care coordination at the individual consumer level or for population health management varies widely (see Your Roadmap To Interoperability). Whether you are partnering with primary care to develop a new integrated model of care, joining an accountable care organization, operating a health home or medical home, or managing care coordination services with a health plan, your executive team should be planning how your organization will share data within the care network.
When we talk about integration and interoperability, the focus is generally on “system-to-system” and “organization-to-organization” information exchange. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. In a market increasingly driven by consumerism, it’s becoming more important to share data with consumers to enable them to be more informed and engaged in their care. That was the point made by Suki Norris, Senior Knowledge Engineer at The Echo Group in her session, How To Be Operable In An Interoperable World. Why is sharing data with consumers the next step in interoperability?
First, payers are looking to deliver a more holistic, consumer-centric model of care to improve the consumer experience. This means giving consumers more information and decisionmaking power when it comes to their managing their own care. For provider organizations, this means not only having the ability to share data, but also having a team that understands what data is meaningful to consumers, and what is the best way to share that data (see Making Consumer-Centricity A Reality For Medicaid Consumers With Complex Needs and What ‘Performance’ Should Your Team Care About? Look At Your Health Plan’s Contract).
Second, informed consumers are engaged consumers—and engaged consumers have better health care outcomes. Empowering consumers with data enables them to become active participants in their care. For provider organizations, this means finding a way to educate and prepare consumers to participate in the decisionmaking process (see Making Consumer Engagement A Reality and Consumer Satisfaction, Consumer Engagement & Shared Decisionmaking).
Are provider organizations and health plans ready to bring consumers into the integration equation as active participants? Both the 21st Century Cures Act, and the recent launch of the MyHealthEData Initiative placed new demands for “interoperability” that also puts the consumer at the center of control over health information (see CMS Shifting Data Control To Consumers: Are You Ready To Share? and ‘Person-Centered’ Health Care Records Take Center Stage). This shift will mean that more organizations will be required to share consumer data with consumers, and give them a place at the table when decisions are made on how to use that data. Interoperability and the ability to share data with consumers is likely to soon be a much bigger factor in gaining the competitive advantage.
For more, check out these resources in the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- Moving EHR Investments From ‘Must Do’ To ‘Must Have’
- CMS Fact Sheet: MyHealthEData Initiative
- Google Launches Cloud Healthcare API To Address Interoperability Conundrum
- ‘Person-Centered’ Health Care Records Take Center Stage
- Carequality, LifeWorks Northwest & Netsmart Collaborate To Share Client Data To Improve Outcomes
- The Essential Tech List For Value-Based Purchasing
- Leveraging Technology For Better Interoperability: Harnessing The Power Of FHIR & Blockchain
- AMA Launches Integrated Health Model Initiative To Create A Common EHR Data Framework
- The Impact Of Tech In The Future – & The Reality Of Tech In The Present
- National Quality Forum Issues New Quality Measurement Reports For Telehealth & Interoperability
For more on this developing and important discussion on data management and access in the health care landscape, join us on October 23 at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute for the session, “The Challenges Of Data Management In A Digital World: An Executive Discussion On Security, Privacy, & Consumer Control.”