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Five ways interoperability plays a role in addressing the coronavirus epidemic

Five ways interoperability plays a role in addressing the coronavirus epidemic

HealthIT Answers has an article outlining five ways data interoperability can play a pivotal role in addressing the epidemic…

“Even as capacity restrictions force organizations to work without barriers—via drive-thru screenings, make-shift tents or by way of telehealth—real-time access to data can help streamline care management, whether fast tracking admissions or empowering patients at home through online portals.

Here are five ways data interoperability can play a pivotal role in addressing the epidemic:

Coordination of Care: COVID-19 provides a sobering reminder of just how much a fully integrated, scalable and interoperable healthcare infrastructure is needed. Coordination among first responders, public health officials, labs, acute, and post-acute facilities will be critical to efficiently deal with the explosion of cases. Insurers will also be a key player of the care coordination team as to not slow down or hold up prior authorizations and patient discharges. Access to information about hospitalizations and test results among healthcare participants will be vital for enhanced continuity of care across settings and transitions. Real-time data afforded by interoperability bypasses the need for phone calls and faxes, which create delays and information inaccuracies.

Patient Identification: A complete view of one’s medical history can be a matter of life or death in the face of COVID-19. Bringing disparate medical records together into a cohesive story enables those on the frontlines insight into an individual’s pre-existing medical conditions, medications, allergies, etc. to make the most informed decisions under insurmountable circumstances. Accurate patient identification ensures data about an individual is correctly linked, updated and shared, for improved clinical decision-making and enhanced care quality and safety. As health officials look to track and predict the spread of the virus, a complete view of the patient population can only be done with a firm understanding of the patient’s identity, and the key relationships the patient has to their next of kin and to their providers of care.

Big Data: Taiwan’s big data approach to the Coronavirus is a prime example of successful interoperability between hospitals and the public sector. In a single day, Taiwan’s government was able to integrate data from the National Health Insurance Administration and Immigration Agency to identify patients’ 14-day travel history. By linking medical records on the national health insurance database with customs and immigration records, they were able to identify and test those who had recently travelled from China or sought medical care. While controversial, it serves as a working example of how a centralized patient record system can coordinate various information-sharing formats between hospitals and the public sector.

Protecting High-Risk Populations: The rapid growth of the Coronavirus compounds the challenge of effectively identifying soon-to-be high-risk populations, which require easy and direct access to disparate data sources. The ability to gather actionable data and successfully put the data to work to protect the health of their communities necessitates accurate, timely and complete data.

Research and Vaccines: Research and advances in COVID-19 discovery hinge on access to interoperable health data for insight about the virus, its behavior, and possible treatments. Data from diagnostic tests, research, locations of confirmed positive cases, the denominator of total tests administered, treatment results, evolving case definitions, and many other streams of data must be mined. In fact, a new repository of coronavirus data, led by the White House, gives experts in AI and machine learning access to hordes of scientific research in an effort to combat the pandemic…”

 

Continue reading the article here.

 

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