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EHR vs. EMR: How to Improve Healthcare Interoperability

Interoperability is the future of EHRs and EMRs.  Systems must work well together, but how can we make this more beneficial? Are there any challenges ahead?

Read on more to learn about the importance, challenges, benefits, and how to improve healthcare interoperability in this article.

Healthcare Interoperability

What is Healthcare Interoperability?

It refers to the software applications and information systems that allow communication and data exchange. In addition, it provides insight into how the overall processes work.

There are four categories of healthcare interoperability:

Foundational Interoperability

This focuses on transferring data between information systems. Only when the user attempts to access the information can the information be interpreted.

Structural Interoperability

This level defines the syntax for data exchange. It allows receiving information systems to understand the data in the field.

Semantic Interoperability

In healthcare systems, semantic interoperability is one of the most significant levels. It allows for systems to communicate and interpret information. As a result, this level is in high demand as authorized users can access the patient’s data electronically.

Organizational Interoperability

This type of interoperability adds multiple non-technical components to the system. These include social, organizational, and exchange policies. Also, these features allow interoperability to unify with workflows within the organization. Through other technical levels, data exchange between different healthcare organizations is seamless.

Importance of Interoperability in healthcare

As important as it is to speak the same language as the person you are dealing with, it is equally important that EHR/EMR systems can communicate with each other using standardized terminology that can be understood easily.

With this, patient data remains accurate, reduces patient search time, and even improves patient outcomes.

Let’s look at the three challenges in EHR interoperability.

1. Data Quality and Systematization

The 2020 HIMSS Media and Hyland Healthcare Survey states that the management of unstructured data is one of the barriers to improving interoperability. This makes sense since your system gathers so much data from various sources.

You can solve this by using standardized terminology quickly sorted and analyzed by AI-powered tools. Today’s most common EHR interoperability standard is FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). It also offers both structural and semantic interoperability. Optimizing EHR data can be done either by yourself or a third party.

2. A Refusal to Share Data

While there is an industry initiative to facilitate patients’ access to electronic health information, some healthcare companies refuse to share EHR data. Furthermore, some facilities fear interoperability will harm their business. Closed EHRs (inaccessible to other providers) help lock down patients’ data.

3. Lack of Skill

The process of implementing EMR interoperability is very complex. For healthcare software development, experience is crucial. To make your EHR/EMR systems seamless and secure, you need a reliable team with relevant expertise.

Benefits of Interoperability

With various medical tools in the healthcare industry, interoperability also plays a huge role. It offers the potential to solve some of the industry’s most significant challenges and reduce care costs. Here are a few of its benefits:

Greater Productivity

Providers’ day-to-day productivity is critical to their success. For them, patients matter more than technology. If interoperability is lacking, productivity will suffer. Because of this, users need to have access to information from disparate systems in a streamlined manner. They shouldn’t have to spend unnecessary time waiting for the systems to communicate.

Fewer Errors

Good care must focus on patient safety. Moreover, data access at the point of care is crucial to preventing medical errors. Thus, interoperability solutions reduce these risks and improve the quality of care.

Safeguarding Patient Data

Hospitals balance the need to access patient health data with privacy concerns as the number of attacks on them grows. The best interoperability providers are even HITRUST-certified, ensuring secure and appropriate data sharing. 

Other benefits of interoperability include— better collaborations, financial stability, and improved healthcare quality.

Steps on How to Improve Interoperability

Data Center Infrastructure Management

Your IT staff can view the current state of your data center with DCIM or Data Center Infrastructure Management. Their insights help you improve the efficiency of your system while laying the groundwork for growth. In DCIM systems, space, power, and cooling are all considered.

DCIM systems help data center managers by

  • Implementing technical and business goals and changes
  • Cutting waste and overprovisioning
  • Planning for new data center capacity
  • Reducing downtime risks
  • Boosting energy efficiency

Getting Ready for Audits

Under the new interoperability rules, plans (and providers) can increase and comply with the standards. Sooner rather than later, however, plans can expect to be audited on their compliance with the rules. Identify what information you will capture to support any technical and operational queries as you prepare to deal with complaints and audits. 

Managing Risks

If multiple organizations share a patient’s files, an attack (such as a hack or data breach) can strike all parties involved.

It is critical to prepare for hacks and other data breaches. However, with interoperable systems, organizations need to be more cautious due to the increased risk. 

Thus, you need a plan to defend your organization against hacking attempts, phishing, and malware attacks. A risk management plan requires the right tools to be secure against potential threats. Documentation of disaster recovery procedures is crucial.

The following steps will also lead to greater interoperability for your organization:

  • Integrate all EHRs into one integrated platform.
  • Put excess data and workloads in the cloud.
  • Diagnose the patient using a health information exchange (HIE) system.
  • Provide your hospital or clinic with robust and efficient digital healthcare software
  • Invest in an EHR with expanded patient records that is content-enabled.
  • Incorporate neuro-linguistic programming and voice recognition into your system.

Providing you with the Best

Looking for an EHR/EMR platform that meets industry standards and complies with local regulations? 1st Providers Choice is a leading provider of innovative health tech solutions.

We also understand the need and expectations of our clients for a higher level of performance for billing software and EMR software. That’s why we only offer the top tailored medical billing system and EHR with features that will allow your practice to operate at its optimum potential, save time, and double your revenue.

You can call us at (480) 782-1116 for immediate assistance, or you can schedule a free demo with our experts TODAY.


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