Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

Interoperability Platforms: Their Role in COVID-19 and Beyond

Interoperability Platforms_ Their Role in COVID-19 and Beyond

Rhapsody CEO Erkan Akyuz explains how interoperability platforms free up data exchange for patient care.

By themselves, the final Interoperability Rules from the ONC and CMS are landmark mandates for the healthcare industry. Their timing has coincided with a crippling pandemic, the likes of which haven’t occurred in recent memory. Together, these two game-changing events will force healthcare organizations to adopt technology and policies that allow providers, public health agencies, and epidemiological organizations to share data across the care continuum. Rhapsody health solutions enable this level of seamless data sharing. 

What is an interoperability platform? 

Interoperability platforms like Corepoint and Rhapsody integration engines allow players in the healthcare ecosystem to exchange data by creating interfaces between disparate systems. These interfaces could be between a health system’s EHR and its laboratory, billing, and radiology systems; a remote medical device and a provider’s EHR; or a provider and a public health system. 

As patients increasingly demand access to their health data and serve as conduits for sharing it, our platforms will enable this type of data exchange as well.  

What role do your platforms play in the COVID-19 pandemic? 

First, they allow providers and public health agencies to share, exchange, and report clinical data. Which patients have been tested? How are patients’ outcomes being monitored and tracked? Which providers have access to that data to ensure continuity of patient care? How is that data being reported to state and regional public health agencies, and, where appropriate, to the CDC? 

Now we’re seeing a need to track inventory data — available beds, ventilators, and personal protective equipment. It’s important to collect this data in a central location so it can be allocated where there’s the greatest need.   

With the increased stress on our health systems, inventory decisions must be made on a basis that optimizes their deployment. Currently, this data isn’t uniformly collected in a central place. The COVID-19 pandemic will change this, and platforms like ours will be a vital layer in health systems’ IT infrastructure to enable efficient sharing of clinical and inventory data where ad hoc, stopgap measures are in place right now. 

Why isn’t the healthcare system already interoperable? 

In the U.S., healthcare organizations have never been incentivized to share data. Leaders of healthcare organizations haven’t wanted to share what they deem to be proprietary information with competitors who could use it to target high-value patients or gain insights into clinical or business practices. 

Another barrier is the number of different healthcare standards out there. While we’ve seen incredible innovation among health IT vendors in recent years, the products and software they’re developing often use proprietary data formats that aren’t interoperable with other systems. 

Rhapsody health solutions address both barriers by unlocking data by and normalizing it in a way that is incredibly powerful for clinicians, patients, payers, and public health agencies. 

One unique aspect of the ONC rule is that it specifies a healthcare standard called Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR. It’s rare for a rule from the Health and Human Services to mandate a particular technology like they’ve done here.  

A FHIR application programming interface defines the layer on top of an EHR that allows other applications to interact with its data. The growing use of this standard will lead the healthcare industry to what the ONC calls the “health app economy,” where patients have access to their healthcare data in much the same way they access their financial information. Rhapsody health solutions allow developers to create workflows using FHIR. 

How will different segments of the healthcare market adjust their business models to enable interoperability? 

Business models will have to include the infrastructure to enable healthcare data exchange — not only because the government is now mandating it, but because we must be better prepared for the next public health crisis.  

As these business models change, organizations that are best at enabling data portability — in a way that is efficient, accurate, secure, and shareable with any destination system — will have a competitive advantage in terms of patient experience.  

How do your products help healthcare leaders adapt to new business models? 

Rhapsody enables these business models by creating adaptable interoperability solutions for all healthcare organizations — from specialty clinics to large networks, from payers to vendors, and everything in between. Our products are used to send hundreds of millions of messages every day, moving data where it needs to be. During a time when so much is uncertain, it takes data that is easily shareable and actionable to help us make the right decisions and create a health system that is better equipped to care for patients in times of calm and in times of crisis. 

This blog was originally published by Modern Healthcare. 

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