What’s next for interoperability
We’ll see more open, connected systems as healthcare consumers demand access to data anytime, anywhere
Interoperability remains the foundation for advancing healthcare because, in today’s value-based market, everyone is a stakeholder. To do what’s best for patients, providers need to share critical information and coordinate care across the entire continuum, no matter which vendor they use to store their data.
How is the industry’s definition of interoperability evolving?
PB: 2018 will be an important year for interoperability. We’re seeing more clients use Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR®) apps to attest for meaningful use and engage with patients. As health information exchanges (HIEs), industry alliances and government entities discuss what it means to be interoperable, we will see more standards around provider-to-provider exchange of information. The final Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (also referred to as TEFCA) regulations will provide more clarity around consumer access to health information.
Allscripts has been committed to open, interoperable systems for a long time. In 2007, we launched a research and development group to focus on solving interoperability issues by using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Today, we continue to cultivate an ecosystem where consumers own their data and have access to the information that enables them to play a greater role in their own health.
What role will APIs play in interoperability?
PB: APIs enable different types of software to interact with each other, and they are quickly becoming central in the interoperability conversation. APIs make data more mobile in a simple and cost-effective way. This is particularly important as healthcare consumers demand more control over their information.
APIs should be open and enable providers to connect solutions, no matter which vendor created them or wants to connect. Only then will patients be able to access their data, and take it with them to other providers. Healthcare information should be as mobile as consumers.
Through our developer network, we’ve helped healthcare applications exchange data 3.6 billion times in just four years, and that rate continues to climb. Today, more than 7,600 third-party developers, representing more than 460 companies, work with Allscripts to deploy innovative solutions using FHIR and our open APIs. We have nearly 200 certified applications available through the company’s application store (https://store.allscripts.com).
What are the biggest challenges ahead?
PB: Looking toward the future, challenges include emergency preparedness, cloud-based storage and widespread adoption of technology that enables interoperability. There’s no question that the cloudbased technology will play a role as systems face with the untenable costs associated with natural disasters and emergency preparedness.
Hurricanes, tornadoes, Nor’easters and wildfires require the evacuation of critically ill patients with complex medical concerns, and it’s important for medical information to follow each patient accordingly. There’s no question that in five to ten years, most of the applications that hospitals access will be cloud-based.
Can you give an example of someone who is succeeding with emergency preparedness?
PB: One of our clients has hospitals, clinics and urgent care clinics throughout the US, with several facilities in Texas and Florida. This client uses our dbMotion platform for data aggregation and semantic interoperability.
When the hurricanes hit Texas and Florida last year, the organization used dbMotion as part of its comprehensive evacuation plan to safely move patients and receive them in other hospitals. In Florida, for example, this organization uploaded 26,000 patient records overnight and within hours created an evacuation plan for all 30+ hospitals in the state. All of the patient records traveled with them electronically, so there were no gaps in care. This is the power of an interoperable system in the hands of exceptional caregivers.