Interoperability is certainly not a new topic. It is a predominant theme at #HIMSS21, and has been a term of engagement in healthcare for over 20 years. To better understand the impact of data interoperability, Google Cloud recently commissioned The Harris Poll to survey more than 300 physicians across the U.S. Nearly all (95%) of these physicians said that access to the right data, at the right time, in the right system, can save lives. And almost the same number added this can improve patient outcomes.
Pain Points for Physicians and Patients
According to the study, the majority of physicians (63%) said time-consuming, burdensome reporting systems (still) remain their biggest pain point. Critical information gaps may not make it from the physician office to the hospital in time for care coordination, medication reconciliation, or imaging. It’s even difficult for data to follow the patient from the Emergency Department to the inpatient area in the same hospital. When patient records and critical information doesn’t transfer with the patient, missing or inaccurate information introduces the opportunity for failure. Why is this so difficult for us to fix?
We have hundreds of government-certified EHR products in use across the country, each with different clinical terminologies, technical specifications, and functional capabilities. One in five hospitals reported using different vendors for their inpatient and ambulatory EHR systems.
These differences make it difficult to create one standard interoperability format for data sharing. HL7 interfaces bring over information from disparate systems, but many times “dump” the data in one area, without first comparing and contrasting the information, or sending it to a specific location in the medical record. Physicians spend way too much time searching or toggling between systems and files. CIOs are turning to Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to streamline enterprise operations and reduce costs in revenue cycle, data migrations, telehealth, and reporting. RPA reduces “type and click,” “copy and paste,” and other tedious tasks, making it the perfect digital ally during today’s challenging times.
COVID-19 Highlighted Shortcomings in Systems and Services
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the attention of hospitals and providers was quickly diverted to fighting a rapidly evolving public health crisis. Because few EHRs were architected for information sharing, clinicians had difficulty finding the actionable information they needed for decision-making. They were busy setting up telehealth and connected care technologies nearly overnight, while converting a significant percentage of their administrative workforce to remote work.
RPA connected lab orders and results reporting, telehealth portals, and revenue cycle tasks, reducing the need for FTEs and eliminating an overwhelming administrative and clinical burden. As we transitioned to vaccine distribution, RPA improved the multi-portal process of filing HRSA claims for uninsured patients.
Automation Accelerates Data Access and Streamlines Efficiencies
Automation can speed data sharing requests and improve the interoperability effort between disparate systems by combing through volumes of data, automating the collection, reporting aspects, and ensuring that privacy protocols are in place when capturing and/or sharing health information. And that’s just the beginning. Automation helps to streamline the prior authorization process, claims management, payment processing, supply chain areas, and so much more.
Unfortunately, we cannot solve the quandary of interoperability overnight. We can, however, work together to create easier access, reduce barriers, and check for missing information in systems and web portals. RPA is a much more affordable solution when compared to AI, offering the same benefits, with far less cost, faster implementation times, and fewer resources.
Why Boston Software Systems?
At Boston Software Systems, we’ve worked with every EHR system. We have 30+ years of successful projects under our belt. KLAS gave Boston Software Systems solid A’s in company culture, loyalty, operations, and value. We keep our promises and state our truths as to what our services can and cannot accomplish. In the process, we create happy customers, 100% of whom would purchase from us again.