The path to actionable health data: interoperability, FHIR®, public clouds, patient consent, 21st-century cures, and (much) more

Posted August 10, 2022
By Jessica Bonham-Werling

Last month, Redox’s Group Product Manager Nick McKenzie joined a panel of experts to share some deep thoughts on interoperability and recent research conducted by AWS Marketplace to understand how healthcare and payer organizations are using technology to advance patient and provider experiences.  

Research results revealed the expectation that secure and interoperable data between systems and organizations are required to support the improvement of patient and provider experiences. Despite interoperability’s necessity, significant challenges with pulling data as well as its frequency, aggregation, standardization, accuracy, and completeness (yes, pretty much all the things) stand in the way of successfully turning data into action.

Despite the known challenges, Nick shared that he is optimistic about the rapid improvement in technology to help payers, providers, and others push interoperability forward. 

As records are increasingly digitized, the ability to store, reference, compute, and analyze data have grown exponentially. Nick is confident that the growth in these capabilities will allow us to overcome challenges around data volume and pivot more resources and attention to improving the cleansing, normalization, and beautification of the data for analysis.

Nick discusses how technical advancement helps our ability to manage ever-increasing data volume.

The coalescence of the industry around HL7® FHIR® standards will also help to overcome some of the challenges, particularly around the frequency/freshness of the data with real-time, bi-directional capabilities. 

Nick shares how FHIR can help unlock real-time data interoperability.

Payers and providers are increasingly shifting data to public clouds like AWS to access cloud-native artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technologies that can make data more useful for improving patient/provider experiences. There are a number of unique tactical challenges in shifting data to the cloud that Nick addresses, including dealing with data in transit from legacy systems, data normalization, and establishing bi-directional data flow. For more information about using Redox to overcome these challenges, check out Redox for Cloud.

Nick shares the tactical considerations of a move to the cloud.

While technology improvement, FHIR, and public clouds offer promise in overcoming the technical challenges of interoperability, Nick and the other panelists acknowledged that there are several non-technical challenges that also need to be addressed.  

First, the standardization of business, legal, and operational policies and practices across organizations to remove complexity.

Nick talks about some of the non-technical barriers to achieving interoperability.

Second, more awareness and education around patient consent and privacy rights are needed to break down barriers that stand in the way of data sharing across healthcare organizations and entities.

Nick shares how patient consent and privacy rights make healthcare unique and why more awareness is needed to enable fluid data exchange throughout the industry.

And finally, legislation like the 21st Century Cures Act and financial incentives to adopt and leverage interoperability technology must continue to be aligned to facilitate the best care for the patient.

Nick discusses how legislation is a central part of continued interoperability adoption.

Want more?

Check out the full replay of the Xtelligent Media and AWS Marketplace research findings and panel discussions.