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Collaboration could help the Interoperability of Hospitals

Interoperability is a difficult barrier for hospital IT departments to overcome for physicians to access the massive amounts of data generated by devices and systems every day. Despite efforts by standards organizations and the availability of regulatory incentives to encourage manufacturers and healthcare providers to improve system, there are still challenges regarding data quality and data discrepancies.

The design, development, and implementation of an Interoperability strategy based on an enterprise vs. department-by-department approach were discussed during the webinar “Healthcare: Are your medical devices EMR ready?” co-hosted by Philips and HIMSS. On September 2, Benedict Tan, director, chief digital strategy officer, and chief data officer at Singapore Health Services (SingHealth), and Kevin Phillips, lead of Clinical Data Services at Philips Global, participated in a virtual conversation about challenges.

According to Tan, providers must first understand “how and where they need to interoperate” before moving forward with hospital Interoperability. According to Phillips, the process begins with an inventory, which includes listing devices and workflows and identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement. The next step is for healthcare providers to understand their IT landscape: do they have a solid IT team to lead the process?

In the healthcare sector, innovation is continual. Therefore, providers may need to work with a variety of systems or devices in the future. That is why, according to Tan, partnering with an open, transparent vendor or solutions provider is “extremely crucial” when health organizations establish Interoperability. For example, medical device maker Philips claims to be fighting for greater openness and vendor neutrality from the standpoint of vendors. In addition, cybersecurity, one of the main worries about Interoperability, is another area where providers and vendors must work closely together.

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