Achieving Interoperability in Times of Change

Introduction

In healthcare, interoperability is the cohesive exchange, interpretation, and usage of data for different healthcare information technology (HIT). Since the approval of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), healthcare providers have been forced to embrace electronic health records (Gundrapalli, Jaulent, & Zhao, 2018). ARRA provided expectations for HIT to exchange data electronically. The cancer treatment center will need to embrace EHR system first after the acquisition process. The merging of the two systems is made possible through interoperability, where this is fundamental for breaking down information silos. Currently, the use of electronic healthcare records (EHR) is a major development and it is the leading force that pushes the healthcare industry towards interoperability.

Two-system merger interactive scenario

Merging the hospital system with the cancer treatment center will require interoperability, which means that E system should be introduced. The goal is to ensure that there is effective and ease of accessing patient data through the system. EHR will ensure that patients are not burdened with the task to remember their medical history whenever they seek medical care. Instead, personal data is all that is needed to access all the information required. In many cases, patients may not be in a position to offer the necessary information that is required for quality health care. EHR ensures that the data is safe and readily available.

Data exchange schema and standard should allow the sharing of data across different departments in the hospital. The ease of getting the information from the cancer treatment center to other departments will be facilitated. Moreover, EHR reduces the chances and risks of disjointed communication and facilitates a holistic view of patients despite the variance in technologies used across departments in the hospital. EHR system will enable the hospital system to work together and efficiently with the cancer treatment center to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for patients.

Functions of EHR Technology

EHR technology performs four functions: electronic prescribing, electronic test ordering, reporting of test results, and keeping physicians’ notes. EHRs have basic data, such as the name of the patient, contact, medical history, allergies, medication, current medical issues, test results, progress notes, and financial documents. The technology also helps general practitioners to read reports from different departments (Kruse, Stein, Thomas, & Kaur, 2018). The shared information, such as discharge summary, test results, and reports from physicians, can only be made possible through interoperability.

Significance of EHR Technology

EHRs are invaluable in the day-to-day medical situations. Doctors only need the patient’s identification information to access medical history rather than relying on self-reports from the patient (Khosrow-Pour, 2018). Therefore, the process is quicker, safer, and more comprehensive. Also significant is that the information gathered by general practitioners can be shared all through the hospital departments. Therefore, a physician can send the tests that need to be done to the laboratory, and the results are sent back to the physician.

Factors that Affect the Implementation of EHR Technology

The implementation of EHR has not been a smooth process. Different factors affected the process which led to the failure of the implementation process. First, studies show that there is an association between attitude and acceptance of technology by healthcare professionals (Hsieh, 2015). Studies indicate a significant influence of attitude on the acceptance of EHR by physicians (Steininger & Stiglbauer, 2015). As such, healthcare providers needed to be aware of the capabilities of the e-health system as well as ease and efficacy of training programs before embracing implementation.

Secondly, perceived usefulness has a strong impact on the intention of healthcare professionals to use EHR technology. The success of the adoption of e-health is characterized by a clear understanding of its benefits (Gagnon et al., 2016). As such, embracing EHR for healthcare professionals should show improved work efficiency, increased work effectiveness, improved quality of healthcare, and improved patient safety. Thirdly, confidentiality concerns affect the implementation process of EHR technology. Physicians had to be convinced that the use of e-health would not impose risks to the confidentiality of the information of patients (Grood, Raissi, Kwon, & Santana, 2016). The concern was that patient data in the system would be easily accessible by unauthorized personnel.

Conclusion

The cancer treatment center requires EHR technology to facilitate merging with the hospital system. Interoperability is used to ensure that the merging of the systems is successful. The functions of EHR are electronic prescribing, electronic test ordering, reporting of test results, and keeping physicians’ notes. It also eases the process of acquiring patient’s information and connects different departments within the hospital. Three factors affect the implementation process of EHR technology, which include attitude of professionals, perceived usefulness, and confidentiality concerns.

References

Gagnon, M. P., Simonyan, D., Ghandour, E. K., Godin, G., Labrecque, M., Ouimet, M., & Rousseau, M. (2016). Factors influencing electronic health record adoption by physicians. International Journal of Information Management, 36(3), 258-270.

Grood, C., Raissi, A., Kwon, Y., & Santana, M. J. (2016). Adoption of e-health technology by physicians. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, 9, 335-344.

Gundrapalli, A. V., Jaulent, M. C., & Zhao, D. (2018). MEDINFO 2017: Precision Healthcare Through Informatics. IOS Press.

Hsieh, P. J. (2015). Physicians’ acceptance of electronic medical records exchange: an extension of the decomposed TPB model with institutional trust and perceived risk. International Journal of Medicine Informatics, 84(1), 1-14.

Khosrow-Pour, M. (2018). Advanced Methodologies and Technologies in Medicine and Healthcare. IGI Global.

Kruse, C. S., Stein, A., Thomas, H., & Kaur, H. (2018). The use of Electronic Health Records to Support Population Health: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of Medical Systems, 42(11), 214.

Steininger, K., & Stiglbauer, B. (2015). EHR acceptance among Austrian resident doctors. Health Policy and Technology, 4(2), 121-130.

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