As a somewhat recent college graduate, I’m facing the reality that I’m not going back to school this September. But, I’m also not headed back to my childhood home in California either. I can’t use health services at school, and my original doctors are across the country. Because of this, I’m currently in the process of finding all new doctors.
Each and every time I go to a new doctor’s office, the first thing I have to do is fill out forms with my name, medical history, personal information, etc. Everyone is familiar with these forms and everyone dislikes them. More than just a nuisance for the patient, they’re a time suck for the nurses or administrators who have to file the information. I’m shocked that in this day and age, there isn’t a database with all this information that physicians can access with the click of a button. (Though this is being worked on.)
Now that I’ve worked for some time understanding clients and the media in the health IT space, I’ve realized that this boils down to interoperability. If healthcare networks could share information freely, there would be no need for these forms to be filled out more than once. Updates would be made and shared from primary care physicians to specialists. Not only would other hospital staff have more time to devote to actually bettering patient care, but the patient experience would be greatly improved.
The bottom line of interoperability should be patient care, a means to the end of the highest quality that a health provider can offer. And though I believe wholeheartedly in those arguments, I think that looking through the patient experience lens expands the argument. Everything else aside, if I get the same clinical outcome from two healthcare facilities, I’m going to go back to the one in which I had the best experience when I next need care. From a business perspective, it makes sense to usher in interoperability (i.e. avoiding patients filling out the same information time and time again) so that the patient has the best experience possible. Improved patient experience is just one more added value of interoperability.
What other benefits do you think will come with interoperability?