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Gathering global insights on Interoperability in Healthcare

GRG Health continues to support global leaders in identifying answers to crucial questions. If it is about the future potential of robotic surgery or interoperability in healthcare, GRG Health has the privilege of delivering insights that guide decision-making for C-level executives worldwide.

Interoperability is the ability of various agents (application systems, information systems and connected devices) to access, exchange, integrate and use data in a coordinated and interconnected manner across any meaningful boundaries.

The goals of interoperability include cooperation, data portability, and timeliness for optimizing the health of both individuals and populations - ranging from local to global.

Through standardized architecture, a robust framework of guides and rules, and coordinated implementation, Interoperability hopes to turn global healthcare into one large, seamless landscape where universal access delivers equal benefit to all.

However, though it is critical to the global success of healthcare, Interoperability is both challenging and complex. Method of Approach, Choice of solution, Identification and cooperation of key stakeholders are just a few of the factors that make Interoperability such a hard goal.

However, with the occurrence of covid2019 - a pandemic that was never seen before Interoperability has become a non-negotiable

So, it is not surprising that a key client approached GRG Health to connect with key stakeholders from selected countries across the globe to gather their views on the current situation and future outlook for Interoperability.

GRG Health relied on its internal team to rapidly develop a suitable questionnaire, create stakeholder profiles, map suitable respondents, and gather their insights. Further, before engaging with the respondents, GRG Health also worked closely with the client to decide on key areas to probe on for the enrichment of information - a crucial step since Interoperability is so hard to achieve and sustain.

Besides this, GRG Health produced interesting insights about the stakeholders. This is because in many places, there are role overlaps - for e.g., in some institutions, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is also the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and customizing the probes accordingly is necessary to get meaningful answers. For e.g., "speed to deploy backup systems" - a key feature of Interoperability hardly means the same thing for a CIO vs a CMO - and it gets complicated if a respondent has role overlaps!

Then, there are considerations about how institutions approach Interoperability Solutions with preferences ranging across four key options:

a. Solution that is collaboratively developed in-house (collaborating with EMR partner)

b. Clinical workflow management/connectivity solution with supported data integration

c. Third party enabled End-to-end/ Enterprise solution (institution wide)

d. Third party enabled Department specific solution

Most of the insights were in line with GRG Health’s expectations. However, a few of the insights were unexpected.

For e.g., why would an Emergency Department respondent prefer an in-house solution even when the institution has gone with a proven enterprise-level third party solution? GRG Health is sure that the answer (which will not be disclosed for obvious reasons like client confidentiality) would be a learning for many institutions that are trying to achieve Interoperability - especially if patients frequently travel between states (in either EU or the United States)!

Moreover, the answer to the question above is also why many unrelated CIOs across EU and the US are approaching the Interoperability opportunity in a similar fashion.

If you are looking for a research partner to deliver insights on crucial topics to guide decisions that impact key operations, please feel free to connect, comment or send us an email and someone from the team will reach out to you as soon as possible.

(P.S. As a third-world CIO, have you ever thought about how EHR-independent healthcare systems in third world countries could benefit from Interoperability? Would that answer help local institutions with their patient volumes and upskilling clinical staff?)


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