How Is Healthcare Building Interoperability Standards And Ensuring Patient Safety?
>> How Is Healthcare Building Interoperability Standards And Ensuring Patient Safety?
Recent innovations to the healthcare sector have resulted in many care providers building interoperability services. Before interoperability became mainstream in the healthcare sector, there were many risks to patient safety.
From misdiagnosing to leaking private medical data, there were loopholes that many could take advantage of. Patient safety is essential for any medical practice; from medical autonomy to proper treatment, interoperability seeks to make providing care easier.
What is Interoperability in The Healthcare Sector?
Interoperability is defined as the smooth flow of data and communication between two systems so that they can exchange, interpret and use the data shared. In the healthcare sector, this mainly relates to medical data through Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and various operating systems. HIMSS has laid the roadmap of interoperability that many hospitals and care providers follow. Through combined efforts, interoperability has been made a necessity for the future of healthcare.
Risks Associated with Non-Interoperable Healthcare
To understand how far healthcare has come in building interoperability and focusing on patient care, we need to look at the healthcare landscape in the past. A few risks of non-interoperable healthcare were:
Patient data was hardly ever updated, and patients would be in charge of keeping scattered medical files.
Due to medical data being written or printed, it was easy to lose or destroy. There were no virtual copies.
Patients and payers for the procedure were often left out of the loop and simply followed the doctor’s orders without knowing much about what was going on.
Doctors or healthcare providers were under no obligation to release medical data or comply with patient safety instructions.
It was difficult to assess which professionals the patient was visiting simultaneously for multiple issues; It was even more challenging for those professionals to contact one another.
Patient data was straightforward to leak to outside sources and be manipulated, putting the patient at immediate risk.
Benefits of Interoperability for Patient Safety
Patient safety is the discipline of healthcare that deals with ensuring there are fewer risks to the patient during their healthcare provision and there is no harm done to them. It aims to reduce accidents in medical practice, improve the environment and ensure better privacy policies for patients. Some of the benefits interoperability has brought to patient safety are:
Reduces Medical Errors
According to medical data, around 10% of all medical deaths in the U.S. are caused by medical errors. By sharing data and medical information related to the patient, doctors and professionals can understand their situation better and reduces the chances of medical errors. Data sharing amongst systems also helps identify how mistakes occur and what can be done to prevent them.
Increases Healthcare Efficiency
Healthcare providers have to spend less time organizing data and sorting through scattered files by making data interoperable. It also gives it more time to pay attention to the patient and be efficient with their work. Interoperability also helps the healthcare industry grow and prepare for unforeseen circumstances like pandemics.
Enhances Patient Security
When there is a lack of interoperability, it becomes difficult to track who has access to specific medical files. However, through interoperability, patient data is strictly protected and shared between professionals, patients, and payers. This helps increase patient security and reduces the chances of leaked medical information.
The Way Forward
Although interoperability has already achieved so much for the healthcare sector and patient care, there is still a long way. Through combined efforts and compliance with governmental regulations, healthcare can become safe and affordable to all.
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