The emergence of new technologies has brought along opportunities as well as challenges. Their proliferation into the world of healthcare has left professionals grappling with changing regulations, interoperability issues, and loads and loads of inconsistent, unstructured data.
We are up for a significant shift, and Gartner expects 35% of healthcare delivery organizations to have shifted workflows outside the EHR to pursue better efficiency, experience, and outcomes by 2023. We need ways to weave patient data into the healthcare fabric seamlessly. The one issue that we continue to experience repeatedly is interoperability with a sea of wearable devices, further adding to the chaos.
Even bigger organizations are constantly updating their technology landscape to keep up with changing times and demands. Lyniate, the enterprise known for its leading interoperability solutions, recently announced the acquisition of Datica Integrate and the launch of its new cloud-hosted fully managed data integration solution, Lyniate Envoy.
Erkan Akyuz, chief executive officer at Lyniate elaborating on the acquisition, says, “Our acquisition of Datica Integrate extends our customers’ ability to effortlessly connect and aggregate the data from multiple systems of record through FHIR. This is critical because as regulatory compliance continues to drive global industry trends, healthcare organizations will need adaptive integration support that will complement standards from HL7.”
Health stakeholders are now pinning their hopes on Fast Health Interoperability Resources (FHIR) to tide over interoperability and data-sharing challenges. FHIR serves as the bridge to patient information, claims, medical records, and all such things required regularly to make accurate clinical choices and deliver quality care.
FHIR works incredibly well for clinicians and patients and has their back with seamless, on-demand information exchange. In a day and age when we want data to communicate and converse with each other – be it from hospitals, clinics, patient portals, databases, and insurance plans – some kind of standardization is necessary to establish a solid ground for dialogue and exchange. FHIR is this ground that nurtures best practice standards and raises the bar for patient engagement.
So let’s look at its role critically and understand why it holds the key to patient engagement and much more.
FHIR is omnipresent
Just about everyone agrees on the tangible benefits FHIR offers to the world of healthcare. Everyone from healthcare vendors to federal organizations that need to share and exchange clinical information regularly relies on it. FHIR enables a cohesive healthcare customer experience by helping them provide consistent interoperability and patient-focused, data-driven care.
FHIR removes the gaps in an information exchange system and uses standardized APIs instead of creating plug-and-play applications. These applications can be easily plugged into any EHR to allow users to access information without sifting through large data volumes. This applies to accessing concrete details too, be it about a patient or a treatment.
FHIR also helps patients connect with healthcare service providers without making them go through a bunch of portals. In 2020, the global wearable medical devices market was worth USD 16.6 billion, continuing to grow in the coming years. A CAGR of 26.8% from 2021 to 2028 highlights the increasing focus on fitness and a need to monitor health and lifestyle habits at all times.
Expectations from FHIR integration will continue to rise with the growing demand for seamless data transfer. FHIR will enable users to obtain data from health apps and devices to facilitate analytics and preventive care. . FHIR plays a significant role in providing a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health that goes a long way in creating better care management programs. Since patients can also access this information, it ensures transparency and trust.
Technology advancements with FHIR
Small snippets of data or ‘resources’ that can be built on top of normalized data types represent clinical domains such as treatments, medications, diagnoses, etc., within EHRs. Health Level 7, the organization that develops standards in healthcare, has developed FHIR as a draft data standard.
As an HL7 standard, FHIR also simplifies healthcare information exchange across the ecosystem, paving the path for quick data access and interoperability. API-powered FHIR integration is just what we need to redefine patient experience and enable better collaboration across stakeholders.
It is beneficial for app developers too. Although FHIR cannot directly provide the necessary aspects required to write apps for EHRs, it helps them translate clinical data into components used in the apps. FHIR brings several benefits such as scalability, performance, usability, and data fidelity to developers to create FHIR apps that can be easily connected to any FHIR-enabled EHR or clinical solution.
As per insights from a recent study, only 24% of healthcare companies use application programming interfaces (APIs) to scale, yet FHIR APIs are expected to become widespread by 2024.
As healthcare providers continue to put in more efforts to provide value-based care, the fast-evolving government regulations, consumer demand, and competition demand a high level of interoperability among all stakeholders. FHIR provides the means not just to minimize errors but also reduces data silos and possibilities for fraud.
FHIR helps address gaps in care and information and keeps a tab on patient transitions as they move on from one healthcare provider to another. In times of health emergencies, this information can save lives.
Better collaboration between providers and payers
Patients depend on both as part of their health maintenance regime. FHIR standardization eases friction between the two in the preauthorization process itself, which has often been a pain point for all concerned. Thanks to a common-standard API, medical data can be obtained from the medical record software after raising a preauthorization request. Authorizations today occur in near real-time transcending beyond traditional clinical limitations.
Red flags to enable preventive care
As collaborative care becomes the norm, patients can now take the necessary preventive measures to avert an illness. As per a study published in The Lancet Digital Health journal, data from 47,000 Fitbit users in 5 U.S. states helped them predict and accelerate response to flu outbreaks. It goes on to demonstrate how good interoperability can be for everyone. It triggers a chain of reactions, all contributing towards health and better care.
An older person, for instance, getting early signs of flu can be at a greater risk. A physician or a care manager would prescribe anti-flu medications on being alerted about the symptoms. On the other hand, the patient may want to plan and reschedule things; for, e.g., he can avoid meeting an old friend or visiting grandkids. This is just a small demonstration of how interoperability facilitates preventive care in the connected world.
FHIR is the building block every healthcare organization needs today. FHIR implementation is fast, and the best integration engines allow developers to build a simple interface in just a single day. However, what is challenging is to ensure patient privacy at all times so that there are no breaches or violations. The industry needs to collaborate and work together to get the most out of FHIR integration.
Give your patients the FHIR edge with Trigent
Help your patients get smart about healthcare choices. With years of experience in the healthcare sector, we can help you improve patient care across all your applications. Our technology experts will automate and optimize the flow of information within your system with successful FHIR adoption.