The Need For Interoperability in Telemedicine
>> The Need For Interoperability in Telemedicine
In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic and its multiple variants, healthcare in the US is under considerable strain. With the digital health revolution changing the medical landscape for many healthcare providers, it is up to them to find new technological healthcare solutions to meet the growing demand.
One of these solutions is incorporating telehealth into standard healthcare practices. However, without reflecting on the effect of data transfer, sharing, storage, and management on organizational workflow and patient data security, they cannot move forward with providing healthcare that is compatible with today’s interoperable standards.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is generally defined as using technology and communication to establish remote clinical services such as consultation, treatment, and diagnosis of off-site patients. The technology used in telemedicine is often computers, phones, videos, and messaging.
Although telemedicine and telehealth are often used as synonyms for each other, the distinction between the two is that telehealth focuses on the broad application of technology on healthcare services whilst telemedicine focuses on treating patients remotely.
Why is Interoperability Important?
Interoperability is essential for the medical and healthcare sector. Telemedicine is part of that; hence interoperability is important for telemedicine as well. Interoperability commonly refers to the ability of different healthcare systems and service providers to use computer systems to exchange, interpret, store and manage patient and organizational medical health data.
Implementing interoperability standards has been made mandatory by the government, but it is also punishing service providers that defect from this effort.
It helps streamline organizational and management efforts in terms of data collection and storage and helps improve the healthcare experience for patients. One of the most important aspects of interoperability is its effort to bring healthcare providers, patients, and payers into the loop.
Growing Demand for Telemedicine Interoperability
The growing demand for telemedicine post-COVID ‘19 is undeniable. Many people sought out virtual care systems and providers for their consultations and healthcare visits. That created an increasing demand for telemedicine that in turn boosted the need for interoperability as well.
The need for increased operability resulted from certain issues in telemedicine health provision that not letting it operate on the level it is supposed to. These issues were as follows:
Healthcare providers couldn't access patient healthcare data during virtual consultations.
The patient engagement with the healthcare providers was very low.
There were too many unnecessary steps involved in administering telehealth.
Telehealth-related medical data was siloed in the consultation process.
It was challenging to manage and share data collected from these virtual consultations.
How Interoperability Impacts Telemedicine
By introducing telehealth interoperability, it became easier to administer and as well as receive remote healthcare solutions. That made it easier for both healthcare providers and patients to enjoy a good healthcare experience. Interoperability has helped the telemedicine and telehealth industry in the following ways:
It helps patients and healthcare providers understand each other better.
Healthcare providers can easily update the patient’s medical history with their Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and share them with other providers as well.
It makes data interpretation, storage, and management easier for healthcare providers.
The patients better understand the healthcare they are being provided, and their development is well documented.
It enables healthcare providers to make better sense of the data they receive through text, phone, video, or app interactions.
The Future of Telemedicine Interoperability
The demand for telemedicine interoperability solutions will only continue to grow as the need for a telemedicine department in every healthcare organization grows. With good results in telemedicine interoperability, new innovative ways to administer healthcare remotely will come to light. This will make providing and receiving healthcare easier for both doctor and patient.
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