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Jerris Heaton

The Impact of Health IT Interoperability in 2021 and Beyond

March 19, 2021

EHR 4 Minute Read

The Interoperability Rule came to be in March 2020 and concerns data-sharing across the medical profession. Transparency and information blocking due to patient privacy have been challenges to interoperability for years. Required reporting by federal agencies has also been a hinderance, because it was not standardized.

Enter COVID-19, which changed world healthcare and required adaptability for every single doctor, nurse and worker deemed essential in hospitals and clinics alike. The global pandemic delayed the Interoperability Rule coming into effect, but its importance didn’t fade into the background.

Interoperability 2021, Healthcare Interoperability

The necessity to pivot quickly in a crisis has guided heath IT interoperability over the course of 2020 and into 2021. The need for preparation hasn’t changed, but the ability to move quickly for any further unplanned health crisis has also become a driving force in the world’s current climate. Future enforcement of the Interoperability Rule will improve healthcare as a whole.

Interoperability in the Future

As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, healthcare interoperability only gains priority. Enforcement of the rule will begin in July of 2021, and all healthcare agencies, hospitals and clinics need to be prepared, even as they continue the battle with COVID-19 and the constant need for PPE despite the vaccine becoming more widely available.

Automation helps, specifically including the use of EHR (electronic patient records), as they assist in the efficient aggregation of patient information from healthcare provider to healthcare provider in a standard format.

Transparency will be key, as well. One positive result of the pandemic has been that lawmakers and healthcare professionals have recognized the need for more transparency across the global healthcare arena. There have been more strides toward that transparency, while also protecting patient privacy. It is a balance, but it is a key component of having true interoperability.

The requirements for standardized EHR will guide monies invested in value-based patient care. Providers will remain unsure of their ROI (return on investment) for some time, but healthcare interoperability will require providers and payers to take more monetary risks.

Interoperability 2021, Healthcare Interoperability

They will then need technology intervention to track metrics and analytics to assess where they are getting the most out of their investments, but the cloud-based healthcare approach will continue to advance.

2021 Expectations Moving Forward

Momentum will continue, with technology leading the charge in what can be expected in 2021 healthcare interoperability and beyond.

  • Telemedicine will Continue to Rise—Video chats using patient API (application programming interface) have been around pre-global pandemic, but, due to necessity and patient safety alike, the pandemic forced doctors’ offices to utilize them on a more regular basis—and they aren’t going anywhere. Patients don’t have to leave their homes to see their doctors or even get prescriptions for medication. AI (artificial intelligence) will continue to dominate healthcare IT and technology, improving interoperability even more.
  • Providers and Payer Communication—Due to the Interoperability Rule coming into effect, healthcare providers and payers will see improvements in communication and transparency, as well as patient privacy. Regulations have been put in place guiding patient privacy requirements.
  • Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) will Improve—Information blocks of years past won’t be as much of as issue in healthcare 2021 and beyond. The Interoperability Rule requires standardized ERH, which will only improve patient healthcare and privacy across the world healthcare stage.
  • Medication Management—Some medication costs, which were slightly relieved during the pandemic, will rise and return to the forefront in 2021. The vaccine rollout will continue, with the goal being keeping it as smooth as possible, but costs for providers will affect payers and go down the pike to patients, especially specialty medications.

Technology will continue to guide the future of healthcare, and, due to interoperability, that future is a bright one. Patients and providers alike can look forward to the ease of communication and safety due to healthcare applications and virtual healthcare.

There will be continued ups and downs due to COVID-19, but the healthcare industry has learned a great deal while warring with the global pandemic. The vaccine will improve cases of the virus, and the world will overcome the global pandemic—hopefully sooner than later. Interoperability can only result in making things even better.

To learn more about ChartLogic’s role in driving interoperability, contact us today.

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