Interoperability in healthcare delivers numerous benefits to healthcare organisations, and its growth across healthcare is predicted to double by 2024. It helps healthcare providers deliver better outcomes for patients, increases patient engagement, and creates faster workflows within healthcare operations.
FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) enables interoperability within healthcare as organisations share data. It builds upon the simple messaging protocols of the past by offering a customisable, adaptable engine and standard ways to integrate.
Control costs with an FHIR integration engine
FHIR is a standards-based interface that greatly simplifies the work required to integrate data from various applications and automate data exchange between them. The standardised data in a FHIR integration engine allows healthcare organisations to access information from various systems. Healthcare professionals do not have to manually copy the information from one system to another, which saves time and money.
Many companies cite costs as their key reason to not adopt interoperability. One interoperability challenge that can raise costs is the complexities associated with data transformation and version translation. FHIR can handle these complexities by translating data into formats required by different healthcare organisations and applications.
“A 2017 study found that the United States spent USD$800 billion on healthcare administration.”
Stay abreast of errors and alerts in your system
Alerts and notifications are imperative to ensuring the maintenance and integrity of the integration engine’s interfaces to other systems. If the FHIR interface engine experiences an error, notifications are needed so that the issues can be rectified as soon as possible.
A FHIR integration engine can be configured to alert the team by SMS, email, app notification or other means if errors or particular conditions occur, for example an interface becoming unavailable. While legacy interface engines have this ability too, FHIR integration engines target the point of failure to guide the team towards a faster resolution.
Moreover, a central place to monitor the integration engine interfaces across numerous locations on any device with an internet connection is expected and needed. A feature like this is particularly helpful as modern workforces are mobile, and remote workers will need to monitor and maintain the FHIR integration engine interfaces from their home office.
A FHIR integration engine facilitates information sharing
FHIR allows healthcare organisations to communicate with one another for clinical, administrative, and financial purposes. The standard provides a comprehensive range of data exchange functionality that supports all healthcare operations. Information exchanged includes lab results, treatment orders, allergies, medications, demographics, appointment information, health information requests, finance information etc.
Your interoperability strategy should accommodate various types of data formats, so your healthcare organisation remains flexible in the face of change. For example, your facility leverages one data format, but you need to send it to a facility that leverages another format. You have just wasted time translating the data into one language, then another again.
“52% of healthcare executives have cited that data sharing between providers has a positive impact on the patient experience.”
Remove the need for multiple integration solutions
I have spoken to healthcare organisations that leverage more than one legacy integration solution. It is a situation that can occur quite naturally as organisations acquire the technologies they need to continue operating. A large hospital might have siloed departments that each utilise different systems and integrations to connect each of these systems.
FHIR provides a single integration solution so organisations can access sensitive patient data from disparate systems. It provides a centralised hub for messages containing patient, business, HR, IT, or financial data in organisations that have different integrations for each of these functions.
Multiple solutions like this are seldom appropriate. It can increase your costs as you have to maintain several systems and provide training for the staff that work with each one. FHIR prevents such issues by providing a single solution for integrating data across all departments.
FHIR integration engine leverages web technologies
FHIR leverages web technologies to provide data shared across different software systems. The web technologies bring standard ways of passing information, securing data in transit, verifying providers and receivers of data as well as traceability of data traffic. FHIR has been adopted by industry standards because it provides a common understanding of health information.
FHIR can easily integrate web applications, such as patient management, booking, or record keeping systems. Web APIs enable secure communication between devices connected to the internet. Healthcare professionals can access patient data no matter the operating system or software that they use.
FHIR is able to connect legacy systems as well as modern healthcare applications, meaning older applications need only be upgraded as needed. Essentially, FHIR does not attempt to reinvent healthcare systems, it just aims to bring them together. For example, if you visit a radiology professional for a screening, they often have to access your past health information from several sources. FHIR takes these systems and leverages web APIs to ensure they all communicate smoothly.
How Fluffy Spider enables healthcare interoperability
We develop integrated software systems for connected, interoperable digital healthcare. Our solutions manage the electronic health information journey from devices to the cloud and to medical record systems.
We implement FHIR-based solutions in the cloud and the clinic to make health data secure and available when and where you need it. Our experienced team can bring together your devices, telehealth systems, EHRs and other patient management software to ensure each platform works together and delivers frictionless health.
High-quality commercial software requires a dedicated team with relevant experience. We can work with you through the entire process, from concept to commercialisation. Visit our Integration Services page to learn more about our capabilities and solutions.