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Hg’s David Issott and Philippe Houssiau discuss how investment into ‘interoperability’ is helping to join up separate healthcare systems to improve patient outcomes.

Interoperability is one of the key strategic themes in healthcare today. Everyone is talking about it, and everyone needs to deliver it. In the modern hospital, you have a number of disparate systems that are already implemented and have been in place for many years. In order to deliver effective and efficient care, you need to be able to make those systems talk.

This is where we see the role of interoperability coming in: The ability for systems to exchange healthcare, or healthcare related, data with an unambiguous and shared meaning.

In order to achieve interoperability, you first need to be able to give the data structure. This means that you need to be able to give the data ‘grammar’ whist also decomposing all the different elements of the data so that it can be safely, soundly and accurately transferred between different systems.

The second basic requirement is to make sure that each of these data elements obey to the same level of terminology – and that this is completely unambiguous.

These two requirements can be summarised as providing the data with both Structure or Syntax as well as Semantics.

Another driver towards interoperability is what is called Intra-interoperability – the need for more integrated and coordinated care, that goes across all the different care settings from Primary Care (GPs) to Secondary Care (Hospitals) to Social and Elderly Care. Data needs to flow across all of these different care settings. This is more and more important as these systems become more integrated – these different care settings create a ‘Data Ecosystem’ through which data needs to flow with very precise structure and with very precise meaning.

A Model Healthcare IT System

In today’s world of constrained health budgets, very few have the opportunity to rip out their disparate legacy systems and replace with a ‘single suite’. Therefore, what interoperability systems do is ‘knit’ these different systems together and allow a clinician to have a single view of the patient – resulting in better care for patients.

Hg’s investment in interoperability include Rhapsody and Corepoint: Rhapsody is an industry-leading interoperability platform that enhances healthcare ecosystems through seamless connectivity to unlock the potential of data, on-premises and in the cloud. In 2019 Rhapsody merged with Corepoint Health, the supplier of the Best in KLAS® healthcare integration platform.

More and more healthcare providers are taking ownership of their data ‘liquidity’ responsibilities and they are looking for partners, technology providers and service providers (such as Rhapsody and Corepoint) to enable them to achieve this.

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