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Interoperability a Major Challenge in Healthcare Industry

Interoperability is one of the most challenging and complex requirements in Healthcare. However, it is a problem that Healthcare CIOs and other health IT professionals must address. Examining where Healthcare-provider organizations will make interoperability investments in the future is an intelligent method to understand interoperability and how to handle it. That’s what the second piece in Healthcare IT News’s new feature series, “Health IT Investment: The Next Five Years,” is all about.

For this series, we spoke with health IT leaders, primarily chief information officers (CIOs), to learn about their investment priorities in six categories: AI and machine learning, interoperability, telehealth, connected health, and remote patient monitoring, cybersecurity, electronic health records, and population health, and emerging technology and other systems. Interoperability is the focus of the second characteristic.

When it comes to investing in interoperability over the next five years, Mistretta of Virginia Hospital Center answers “yes” – but not in the way one might assume. The bi-directional transfer of patient information, where they can upload and download on-demand and access their data, will be improved in the next five years. COVID-19 was an excellent testbed for device interoperability since patients were looking for low-contact options to reduce their exposure, according to Mistretta.

So, while application programming interfaces (APIs) and standards can help with interoperability, he continued, there’s no reason to get 300 systems to talk to each other when the essential underlying technology can be changed. According to Tachinardi of the Regenstrief Institute, “interoperability is a critical aspect of and is becoming more so as data volume grows and Healthcare becomes more global and networked.” He also stated that the epidemic had highlighted the necessity of transmitting data in a way that is understandable, accurate, secure, and timely.

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