The Need for Interoperability In Public Health
>> The Need for Interoperability In Public Health
Interoperability has been the leading concern for healthcare systems and policymakers worldwide. The growing need for better transparency, accountability and better data sharing in the healthcare system led to interoperability standards. Since the Covid’19 pandemic, the boundaries and structures of healthcare systems have been tested time and again. Although interoperability is primarily seen in many healthcare systems, the importance for the public is undeniable.
What Is Public Health?
Public health is the branch of healthcare that deals with the safety and protection of people, families, and communities in areas where they learn, work and play. Public health professionals aim to identify and highlight health issues and hazards to the public. They tend to work towards preventing people from getting sick or injured.
The Importance Of Interoperability In Public Health
After establishing the role of public health professionals, one concludes that they played an important role in containing the spread of any pandemic or disease. Therefore, interoperability is essential in the public health sector to aid them in their work. It is necessary on two fronts:
● Research and Development
● Public Healthcare Facilitation
Research and Development
Healthcare professionals need quick and easy access to data and public health records when researching health hazards and diseases. They need to have seamless transactions of information sharing. Sometimes healthcare professionals also need to access data from nearby hospitals and service providers. If the disease or pandemic scale is global, these professionals need to consult one another on progress and resorts.
With interoperability standards established, research and development officials can easily have better communication and data sharing amongst themselves. It also means real-time reporting and interpreting data in various formats on a single face becomes more accessible.
Public Healthcare Facilitation
The public healthcare system is very different from its private counterpart. At the same time, private practices have incentives for better transparency and information sharing. Public hospitals are harder to bring into the interoperability trend. This is because they often have limited state funding and can be managed by corrupt officials. This is why many believe the quality of public healthcare to be deteriorating as well.
Better interoperability standards will help the public healthcare system become more efficient and provide better patient services. The practices, payments, and medicines will be more transparent to patients and payers.
Establishment Of Interoperability In Public Health Sector
The need for interoperability in the public health sector has been acknowledged by medical policymakers worldwide. Therefore, the following steps are being taken into consideration and, in some places, are already under implementation.
1. Electronic Case Reporting
Electronic case reporting helps exchange data and information between EHRs in real-time transactions. It helps move data seamlessly and effectively between different EHRS. It is helpful in the case of a pandemic or spreading disease.
2. Immunization Information System
An immunization information system is a way to keep track of an individual’s immunization records from childhood to adult life. This is primarily because children are taken to multiple healthcare professionals, and their immunization data is usually scattered. IIS helps collect all that data into one reliable source accepted by all healthcare systems.
3. Syndromic Surveillance Program
The syndromic surveillance program helps share data related to many medical syndromes to respective research and development agencies through the collaboration of healthcare systems, EHRs, public health organizations, and the state government. It helps with the scientific study of certain diseases and syndromes to help reduce their prevalence.
The Main Takeaway
Overall, interoperability in the public health sector is the need of the hour to create a healthy population. Advancements in science and technology use information sharing to reduce the prevalence of many common diseases until they are eradicated.
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