Integrated Healthcare Demands Interoperability
One of the advantages of being part of a global team is a more diverse perspective of the issues faced by healthcare systems around the world.
In the more economically developed nations, one of the recurring issues is the integration of health and social care. With a growing elderly population and an increase in those suffering from chronic conditions, the cost of healthcare is increasing significantly. We also know that access to, and quality of healthcare are not the most significant determinants of healthcare outcomes.
In order to improve the health of their populations and subsequently reduce the costs of healthcare, countries need to keep people out of hospital. The research shows how difficult this could be because it challenges the existing models of healthcare. For some countries it requires taking a more active role in the healthcare industry. In all cases, it shows that the continuum of care extends beyond the relationship between the payer and the provider with the patient as a passive recipient.
Although the social, economic and political aspects of this challenge are quite significant, I’ll concentrate on leveraging technology to deliver new models of integrated healthcare.
The new continuum of care includes general practitioners, hospitals, health commissioners, insurers, community clinicians, mental health services, schools, social services, home care providers, occupational health, police services, and other agencies that work with patients. It also includes patients themselves, with self-management of conditions through technology such as healthcare apps. The Baby Boom generation is hitting retirement but it’s not going to passively hand over control of its wellbeing.
The agencies and organizations listed above manage their interactions with patients through different systems and they need to be able to share information in order to support better health and wellbeing.
This provides the tech industry with a choice between taking a short term view of interoperability as an opportunity to financially profit, or seeing interoperability as an essential requirement which makes our systems more attractive to existing and prospective customers.
TechUK, the UK trade body for the technology, is encouraging the industry to take the latter view. Hyland, creator of OnBase, recently signed the Interoperability Charter. This was an easy decision as the charter effectively captures Hyland’s attitude towards interoperability; which has enabled it to develop close partnerships with leading healthcare technology providers such as Allscripts, Calgary Scientific, Epic, GE, Silverlink and TeraRecon amongst others. By cooperating with each other, we improve the ability of our customers to deliver better healthcare to their patients and service users.