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HIT Push Adds Pressure for Proper Interoperability Systems

By Ryan Mcaskill

With more patients asking for technology in their healthcare, providers need to be smart when implementing new solutions.

The use of telemedicine has increased across the healthcare landscape. The growing push for value-based care has systems like telehealth becoming more important as it provides improved care to a number of patients, especially those in rural areas. It also opens up the door for improved consultation with specialists that previously would have been impossible.

As strong and reliable Internet access spreads and technology matures, the use of telehealth and other new solutions is pushed closer to becoming standard operating procedure. At the beginning of the year, many experts put out their list of trends for 2015 and many include telehealth, mobile devices and interoperability.

"Throughout the patient population, the number of individuals seeking and adopting ways to take their healthcare out of the doctor's office and into their homes is on the rise," Daniel Gilbert, president and CEO of CloudVisit Telemedicine said in December. "Providers' ability to deliver services remotely is a strategic asset for any medical practice wishing to increase patient engagement. It's the basis for expanding your organization's reach and growing your patient population."

However, while the benefits of the technology is easy to see, adopting it is harder than it seems. Making matters worse is the fact that patients are aware of what this technology can do and are asking for it. In February, Salesforce released its “2015 State of the Connected Patient Report,” which is based on interviews with 1,700 adults with health insurance and a primary care physician.

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  • The report found that patients are not satisfied with the lack of use of technology as part of their care.It was discovered that fewer than 10 percent of respondents use the web, email or text to set up a appointment and 21 percent use the Web to access health data.

    The older generation is resisting these new strategies, which is not surprising. The study found that millennials are pushing for increased use of telehealth and other technologies. The report found that 60 percent support eliminating in-person visits with the use of telehealth and 71 percent want a mobile application to book appointments, share health data and manage preventive care.

    New technology is gaining steam. Web portals are used by 21 percent of respondents compared to 11 percent that use the telephone.

    “Technology wields huge potential for improving the management of our health,” the report said. “Both healthcare providers and insurance companies have an opportunity to revolutionize healthcare in meaningful new ways, thanks to the power of connectivity.”

    For healthcare technology to reach its full potential, interoperability needs to be a part of the planning from the onset. Purchasing and implementing new technology can become more of a hassle than a benefit if the devices and platforms do not communicate with each other. By planning ahead, each new system will interact with each other and ensure that the system grows stronger.

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