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Going Beyond Interoperability

· Kim Tucker,

I love epiphany moments! You know, that moment when your brain lights up with an obvious idea or as Urban Dictionary defines it “a smart-sounding word for realizing you’ve been [cognitively impaired] for quite some time.”1

I recently had such a moment while reading a press release from my employer about the success we had with improving clinical workflow and patient experience at Craig Hospital by implementing communication and mobile alerts. As I was reading the final copy, my epiphany occurred when I read this line: “In partnership with the hospital’s existing alarm technology providers, Draeger and Connexall, PatientSafe has created a customized, integrated solution with the PatientTouch mobile platform to improve workflow and patient experience.” Duh!!! It’s not about interoperability; it’s about the next step – collaborative problem solving!

According to HIMSS, “interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged.” So we have data flowing back and forth – that’s like a football team moving the football up and down the field racking up first downs…but never scoring.

And just like football, helping a client solve problems often requires a collaborative team approach and not just being a healthcare facility and one industry partner. It is more than likely going to require a team approach in order to score and win as in the case of PatientSafe Solutions, Draeger, and Connexall. Just because we make interoperability possible doesn’t mean we are done. We have to design new clinical workflows that allow for the data to improve the care we provide without overloading the clinicians.

Designing these types of solutions is going to require all companies to collaborate to a much greater degree than in the past. It won’t be enough to share data mapping scheme and call that a partnership. We truly have to go beyond providing interoperability and actually solve problems!

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