Could cloud answer healthcare’s interoperability woes?
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Could cloud answer healthcare’s interoperability woes?

Solving healthcare interoperability challenges  in healthcare is a priority, and cloud-based technology is opening fresh opportunities to enable change.

The medical profession needs to improve the state of interoperability and embrace the benefits of digital transformation, and already, interoperability and data exchange are driving technology buying decisions for 36 per cent of healthcare organisations, according to the 2017 Health IT Purchasing Intentions Survey.

But MedicalDirector’s recent whitepaper, Interoperability in healthcare: Synergising an industry, found while interoperability is paramount to an efficient system of care as well as more accurate patient diagnoses, there is some reluctance and fear around embracing technological change.

The report found many in the medical industry are unsure about the security of moving sensitive patient information around, especially now given the exponential rise of cyber attacks and data breaches. In fact, 76% consider the security of information being stored or sent their greatest area of concern in regards to managing patient information.

Seismic shift in attitudes to cloud adoption

Compared with other industries, the healthcare sector has been relatively slow to embrace the cloud. In fact, the state of current interoperability in Australia’s healthcare sector has been increasingly frustrating GPs who can still be faced with working with outdated, server-based, legacy systems and ‘siloed’ ways in which hospitals and practitioners communicate.

But we, as consumers and individual users, are already experiencing a seismic shift in our understanding of the cloud and its impact in out every day lives. You can share files, music, images and information with ease and little technical know-how and you can manage your day-to-day workflow with little or no set up time and little technical support.

So it’s only a matter of time that the healthcare sector will understand the benefit of the cloud in enabling a more flexible solution and greater scope for interoperability.

Cloud as enabling better interoperability

MedicalDirector’s whitepaper revealed a range of significant benefits of cloud-based health solutions in enabling greater interoperability. It found cloud solutions provide the digital infrastructure needed to effectively coordinate patient-centred care, while interoperability facilitates the transition to healthcare that becomes the shared responsibility of the patient and practitioner. In fact, when it comes to the cloud, 64% of respondents admitted they consider flexibility to be the main benefit of using a cloud-based EHR/PMS systems.

Additional benefits of cloud in terms of enabling more effective interoperability in healthcare include:

  • Offering a scalable and flexible solution that can lower operational burdens
  • Cloud-based interoperability complements value-based, patient-centric care and population health efforts
  • Cloud-based solutions can open an opportunity for a greater, more connected digital ecosystem while ensuring security is a priority
  • Cloud-based interoperability can help reduce administrative burdens and benefit billing and reimbursement processes.
  • Unifying clinical systems into a single, cloud-hosted application and improve functionality and clinical workflow

Moving forward, legacy patient data systems may not be able to keep up with the next generation of cloud-based systems that better support and promote interoperability. At the same time, increased security and more robust, cloud-based solutions are opening up fresh opportunities to embrace a more scalable and flexible solution that will help propel the scope of interoperable digital healthcare into the future.

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