Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

5 strategies to simplify public health data interoperability

There is an urgent need for streamlined data exchange between healthcare providers, laboratories, state and county public health organizationsand the federal government.  

Rhapsody works with 47 of the 50 state health departments. During a recent webinar, we asked attendees (our public health customers) to rank their top three pain points related to interoperability:  

  1. Lack of resources to implement required integrations. Customers ranked this issue above lack of budget, which didn’t even make the top three. Staff are overextended and time is in short supply  especially if staff need to acquire new skills to complete interoperability work.  
  2. Rapidly changing priorities and organizational objectivesWith the pandemic, the need to pivot quickly is more important than ever — and having flexible partners and technology helps. 
  3. Lack of consistent exchange formats from trading partnersMany providers and labs accurately perceive public health reporting as an unfunded mandate. As a result, they submit their data in many different formats. Some smaller organizations still prefer to fax paper-based reports 

APIs are top of mind 

In a separate poll, three-quarters of attendees responded that they were integrating with external or internal APIs. Heathcare API work can be time-consumingespecially since FHIR APIs aren’t a silver bullet for interoperability. Many healthcare IT systems rely on versions of HL7 that predate FHIR, so it remains important to interconnect across a variety of standards. We empathize with this, and we’re committed to ensuring our solutions continue to help simplify these types of transformations. 

More and better interoperability 

As public health agencies navigate interoperability complexities, we are here to help. We’re investing in new capabilities for Rhapsody Integration Engine and strengthening partnerships that benefit public health data initiatives. Our approach to interoperability is to make the hard things easy and the easy things automated 

We collaborate with our customers so they can overcome interoperability pain points, using the following strategies:

1. Stay ahead of FHIR 

We hear you, public health agencies! We know many of you are integrating data in HL7 v2 and FHIR JSONWe’ve made it turnkey to map back and forth between both standards.  

If you want to learn even more about using FHIR APIs with Rhapsody, our training enables you to pursue new FHIR use casesLook for a packaged offering soon — or reach out to your Account Manager now if you’d like to learn more, and we’ll get you going. 

2. Deploy APIs to capture EHR data 

Many organizations would like to surface data directly out of electronic health record systems via APIs. We’re bringing this functionality to Rhapsody through our recent acquisition of Datica’s Emissary® product. This seamless, API-based exchange will enable providers to share data more easily with public health organizations.

3. Pivot quickly with small teams 

Finding time to upgrade Rhapsody in the middle of a pandemic is a challenge. We hear you and are introducing new automated tools within Rhapsody that halve the time needed for upgrades. Expect more continuous product enhancements from usOur Health Check service also helps developers review their existing engine configuration and make improvements before upgrading. When teams work remotely, new UX features will make it easier to work across staging and production environments.  

4. Solve quality issues with incoming data 

While increasing data exchange, many public health teams have been challenged by the quality of data they’re receiving  such as missing contact information from lab tests. Rhapsody health solutions users can improve person data quality through a pre-built connector to Rhapsody EMPI.

5. Tap interoperability expertise 

Given the demands on public health during the pandemic, some public health customers turned to Rhapsody health solutions for additional value-added services. To help them be even more agile, we are managing Rhapsody as a service for them. We handle the incoming interoperability projects and urgent requests, freeing up your teams for other priorities. 

Better data intelligence and metrics 

The next step beyond better data exchange is greater insight across health data. We’re inviting you, our public health customers, to partner with us on new data intelligence initiatives. Our goal is to analyze data that’s already stored within information systems, so organizations can measure success, promote health equity, and improve community health.  

See how state departments of health power public health data exchange with Rhapsody.

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