What Is Advanced Interoperability and How Will It Impact Medical Imaging?

The current healthcare landscape is dynamic and challenging for many providers; with new payment models, regulatory programs and various technologies mainly dictating the way in which healthcare is delivered today. The emergence of pay for performance (P4P) models, also known as value-based purchasing, and other models that base payment on key performance measures have changed the way in which providers approach the care process and structure workflows and interventions.

Medical imaging providers in particular are challenged to find more efficient solutions that allow for streamlined processes related to both the actual imaging itself and physician referrals.

Advanced interoperability is a viable strategy that is well-suited to today’s healthcare environment. 

This article will explore advanced interoperability; defining the concept, outline its benefits, and examine the strategy’s impact on medical imaging.

What are a few key components to advanced interoperability in medical imaging?

Advanced interoperability consists of four primary components:

  • A vendor neutral archive (VNA)

  • Universal viewing access

  • The ability to store and share images via the cloud

  • Imaging infrastructure that allows for integration and communication with various electronic health records (EHRs)

The ability to talk to and integrate with EHRs is the factor that differentiates advanced interoperability from other enterprise imaging strategies. Integration with internal systems and EHRs is not uncommon at many healthcare facilities. However, what sets advanced interoperability apart is its ability to integrate with the broader community of physicians and other care providers beyond the walls of a particular hospital or healthcare system.

As an industry enabled and highly driven by technology, advanced interoperability represents the real potential of a connected continuum of care – one in which patient information is shared safely and securely between providers without the need for all parties to be working within the same EHR.

A typical example of advanced interoperability at work is the direct and automated transmission of reports and images to a referring physician’s EHR in another hospital or health system.

The Benefits

There are many benefits advanced interoperability offers both hospitals and imaging centers. Below are a few of the critical advantages those employing an advanced interoperability strategy enjoy.

Preventing Unnecessary Imaging, Creating a More Efficient Process 

Healthcare providers nationwide are working to minimize inefficiencies, redundancies, and errors. Areas such as avoidable delays, readmissions, and medication reconciliation are common focuses of hospital programs geared toward improving processes to in turn improve patient outcomes. When it comes to process improvement, medical imaging represents some opportunities.

Unnecessary or redundant medical imaging scans are costly and waste both resources and staff time. As value-based care and P4P models become more prevalent, the appropriateness of imaging is likely to become a focus for both payers and providers.

The communication and coordination enabled by advanced interoperability help streamline processes and create more efficient workflows, thereby decreasing both the cost and instances of unnecessary and inappropriate imaging.

Securing Referrals and Connecting Key Providers

As is true of most industries, relationships are important in healthcare. Advanced interoperability allows medical imaging providers to connect with referring physicians. Furthermore, the strategy helps secure referrals due to the ease of use, universal integration and robust communication functions it offers.

Ensuring Compliance

Just because a physician refers a patient to an imaging center does not mean he or she will complete the tests prescribed by their doctor. Such non-compliance can be attributed to a number of factors, including cost, a lack of patient education, and fear of the unknown and/or the test results.

When implemented effectively, an advanced interoperability strategy can help prevent patient non-compliance by notifying providers when patients have failed to follow-up on prescribed exams. Advanced interoperability allows for this communication to occur early in the process to help minimize adverse patient outcomes that can result from delays and non-compliance.

As the U.S. healthcare system continues to evolve and emphasis on value-based care increases, advanced interoperability will be an increasingly important strategy for imaging providers to ensure effective and efficient communication and enable streamlined work processes. The ability to easily and securely share patient data with all providers, regardless of what EHR system they utilize, will ultimately benefit the patient by producing positive outcomes.

ImageMoverMD is in Your Corner

In today’s dynamic, value-based healthcare environment, advanced interoperability is critical to imaging providers’ success. ImageMoverMD offers innovative solutions specifically designed to increase efficiency and improve patient outcomes. Contact us today to learn how we can help improve your care process and secure your bottom line.