Integration, Interoperability & Consumer EngagementAugust 29, 2018
Any discussion in health and human services involves lots of talk about integrated systems and “interoperability”—see What’s In A Name and The Future Of EHR-Collaborate, Connect, Communicate. But the key strategic issue for specialist organizations is that to participate in integration, your organization’s data systems need to be interoperable.
What does “interoperable” mean? Interoperability is the ability to share health care data, and interpret that shared data, among organizations. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) explains, “for two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user” (see What is Interoperability?).
Most organizations have the ability to share consumer health information in some capacity, but what data is shared, how data is exchanged, and the ability to interpret this data to be utilized for care coordination at the individual consumer level or for population health management varies widely (see Your Roadmap To Interoperability). Whether you are partnering with primary care to develop a new integrated model of care, joining an accountable care organization, operating a health home or medical home, or managing care coordination services with a health plan, your executive team should be planning how your organization will share data within the care network.
When we talk about integration and interoperability, the focus is generally on “system-to-system” and “organization-to-organization” information exchange. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. In a market increasingly driven by consumerism, it’s becoming more important to share data with consumers to enable them to be more informed and engaged in their care. That was the point made by Suki Norris, Senior Knowledge Engineer at The Echo Group in her session, How To Be Operable In An Interoperable World. Why is sharing data with consumers the next step in interoperability?
First, payers are looking to deliver a more holistic, consumer-centric model of care to improve the consumer experience. This means giving consumers more information and decisionmaking power when it comes to their managing their own care. For provider organizations, this means not only having the ability to share data, but also having a team that understands what data is meaningful to consumers, and what is the best way to share that data (see Making Consumer-Centricity A Reality For Medicaid Consumers With Complex Needs and What ‘Performance’ Should Your Team Care About? Look At Your Health Plan’s Contract).
Second, informed consumers are engaged consumers—and engaged consumers have better health care outcomes. Empowering consumers with data enables them to become active participants in their care. For provider organizations, this means finding a way to educate and prepare consumers to participate in the decisionmaking process (see Making…