Why interoperability is everything around the world ?
It is clear that interoperability plays a fundamental role in the future of healthcare. By 2020 global healthcare data is expected to reach 2.3 billion gigabytes – a phenomenal amount – for all sorts of uses: vital signs data for monitoring conditions, high-resolution images to support diagnosis, or pharmacy records to understand which medicines should be prescribed.
But this information needs to be in the right hands to be truly effective. Clinicians and carers can work smarter and provide more efficient, passionate care for patients if they have speedier access to patient information. The challenge that has historically faced most healthcare providers is how to ensure information flows safely and effectively to the appropriate healthcare professionals, no matter where they are.
In our latest guide, The interoperability world tour, we bring you some of the best examples of organisations from around the world delivering successful interoperability programmes. We start in Europe where implementing patient healthcare records is the top priority for healthcare providers. In second place is enabling health information exchange with external providers.
Is FHIR the answer ?
Can these priorities be achieved without global interoperability standards? And is FHIR the answer? “The adoption (of FHIR) has been remarkably quick”, says Rik Smithies, the Technical Chair at HL7 UK, but despite appetite for a faster and simpler standard, there have not been too many wide-scale implementations or success stories.
One mental health digital leader in the NHS is bucking this trend. Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has empowered their non-technical staff to create in-house interfaces with the potential to deliver significant safety and efficiency benefits through local information sharing and improved workflows for pharmacy.
Travel 700 miles east and you will find pioneering work around the secure sharing of one million annual clinical tests and improved health information flow across three cities in Switzerland. Thierry Müller, IT Director of Unilabs explains how the leading Swiss diagnostic provider built over 150 interfaces in just six months to reduce the number of tools the team was using to automate data exchange between laboratories and clinicians.
On a national level, Canada has made significant progress in the adoption of healthcare information access solutions, recently claiming to have saved one billion Canadian dollars, the equivalent of 5.6 million emergency visits through technology. The success is largely in part to its investment in developing interoperability across two decades.
Joining up care is a challenge for most countries but not least in France where collaborative working was mandated within regions in 2016 to improve care and cut costs. RHG Sud Bretagne became a national benchmark with its interoperability strategy that saw it implement and take ownership of a single platform to oversee information flows easier and pool different applications into one system – vital for managing over 18,000 messages every day.
If you want to facilitate the exchange and sharing of healthcare data, securely, in your hospital or region, take a look at our latest guide, The interoperability world tour, to get the detail behind the strategies and success from some of the best interoperability projects from around the world.