Tips for devising and implementing an advanced interoperability strategy - Part 1

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Contending with the increasingly challenging healthcare delivery climate, providers of all kinds, including medical imaging practices, have been leveraging electronic health records (EHR) and enterprise-wide imaging strategies to help improve interoperability within their own systems, for quite some time. But, many of these providers are beginning to realize that now is the ideal time to begin leveraging advanced interoperability (AI) strategies to connect with referring physicians and institutions, networks and systems outside their own four walls.

Today, most medical imaging providers can likely only serve the physicians that are a part of their closed network. While an HIE can take them farther out into the community of providers, there are gaps — gaps that only an AI strategy can fill effectively. 
Further, AI strategies manage the current shrinking reimbursements and tightening regulatory demands and play a critical role in helping medical imaging providers streamline clinical and operational workflows with outside entities, meet regulatory measures and improve patient care.
From an imaging perspective, AI solutions exist to extend the reach of primary interactions between physicians and imaging providers as well as secondary or follow-up interactions among the doctor, the medical imaging provider and other specialists who would benefit from reviewing the images.
The primary interactions, for example, can be addressed with technology facilitating the exchange of imaging information and data to the radiology information system (RIS) or via a gateway, where an imaging center or hospital can reach far into its community without having to rely on building costly, point-to-point HL7 interfaces to each doctor they need to reach. The secondary interactions, meanwhile, are enabled through image access directly shared and ingested at a given facility.
An AI strategy leveraging these technologies poses multiple benefits for medical imaging providers, including:
  • A farther reach into the community
  • Savings over building HL7 interfaces
  • Retention and expansion of referral business
  • Attestation for referring providers to achieve Meaningful Use 2

To fully realize all these benefits, however, three areas are critical for medical imaging providers:
  1. Understanding their current status
  2. Understanding their future goals
  3. Making sure the solutions they choose will push them towards their goal quickly and seamlessly. Clunky workflow is the largest barrier to adoption of any information system.

Developing a strong, advanced interoperability strategy takes time and effort, but is worth the effort to improve business – and most importantly patient care. To learn the nuts and bolts of establishing and leveraging an AI strategy, stay tuned for part 2 in this series.

Originally posted on: 5/1/2014 10:51:01 AM

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