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How Interoperability Impacts Your Practice

How Interoperability Impacts Your Practice

In the 21st Century Cures Act, interoperability is defined as the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate and exchange data with ease. Then once the data moves between various applications, it should also be used with ease without any special effort on the part of the user. 

What sounds good in theory can be challenging at best when designing a system for use. You may have already run into significant problems when trying to integrate systems together. 

On the one hand, you have a lot of patient data, sometimes from different sources. On the other is the desire to bring those sources together, scrub it for quality and accuracy, before presenting it to the end user in the manner they need. 

Where do you begin when trying to put all of this together? 

There are three core functions of improving interoperability within your practice. 

Data Aggregation

Data aggregation is the process of bringing together all information, no matter what its format in the beginning. It’s about bringing the entire population together, automating it, and bringing in flexibility before sending it back out in a way that makes sense to the end user. If a system can’t bring in multiple formats, combine the data, and have a way to release it without risk, you’re vulnerable to potential threats. 

Data Quality 

Data quality is a two-fold process. First, you have to ensure the completeness of the data coming in. Is the entire database transferring during the process? Second, the data must be monitored for consistency and accuracy. Are errors developing during the transfer process? For quality control, it’s important to have a way to ensure both processes are occurring all the time.

Data Science

This is why interoperability is essential in the first place. This is the process of bringing the data together to be able to pull out and track things that may have otherwise gone undetected. For example, what if you could tag patients that were missing specific codes in their EHRs? Maybe they have insulin orders, but have never been tagged with diabetes codes. Is this impacting their payment process? Is it impacting their treatment and prognosis? Interoperability can bring these discrepancies to light. 

It can make your practice more efficient. It can add more time to your employees day. And it can decrease your risks, making it a safer place for the people who come in for your expertise every day. But if you haven’t thought of all the ways interoperability can jeopardize your practice, it most certainly is. 

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