Bridging Technology Gaps to Drive Healthcare Interoperability

 

Bridging Technology Gaps to Drive Healthcare Interoperability



The conversation about interoperability tends to focus on new and emerging standards and technologies as the future of health data exchange, but what becomes of healthcare organizations unable to implement the latest and greatest solutions?

For interoperability to move forward and have widespread impact on the healthcare industry, existing and emerging modes of information sharing must be able to connect and support an ecosystem that enables healthcare IT systems of many types to participate in robust health

data exchange.

Through a product-agnostic approach, once the ever-shifting interoperability challenge is solved, healthcare organizations can then move on to the task of structuring data irrespective of its point of entry and allowing for the application of powerful technologies that help deliver actionable information to the point of care. But to get this far, stakeholders must first bridge the gap between established and brand-new methods for transmitting protected health information and other data.

Backward compatibility is essential to advancing interoperability considering that numerous solutions and protocols enable health data exchange today. The push from federal officials to increasingly employ Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to view, transmit, and download health information is the right path, but much of the industry still relies on their existing technologies and protocols to ensure that pertinent health information is available to providers at the point of care. This cannot be ignored.

Cloud fax may lack the flashiness of FHIR and other recent standards, but it is just as effective and can be made even more so by creating a digital ecosystem that transforms data sent using fax protocols into structured information digestible by the receiver’s system of choice.

In a highly regulated industry such as healthcare where regulators are pushing healthcare organizations to improve information sharing while complying with HIPAA and HITECH, a proven and affordable transport mechanism checks all the boxes. And what distinguishes cloud fax from traditional fax technology is the former truly digital nature.

Its digital capabilities aside, cloud fax is especially adept at accommodating paper-based workflows, which are still a common occurrence in healthcare despite protests calling for the industry to axe the fax machine, but cloud fax can even take things a step further once paper becomes digitized.

By creating a digital ecosystem for interoperability and health data exchange, innovators are then able to apply powerful technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing to give structure to information no matter where it originates. The future of interoperability is now.

For the healthcare industry to enter the next phase of interoperability, it must first come to terms with how data becomes actionable information in the hands of providers, payers, and patients. Doing so begins by getting documents into a digital environment where artificial intelligence and automation can do the heavy lifting behind the scenes that not only securely delivers information from one system to another but also gives structure to data that is immediately available and usable by the receiver. In other words, the receiver can then extract the data required to quickly make decisions that can save money, time, and even improve health outcomes.


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