How interoperability will accelerate digital health adoption in 2024

Healthcare organizations will seek to harness integration and interoperability to improve efforts to offer cost-effective digital health solutions in 2024.

Healthcare innovation continues to accelerate at an unprecedented pace. However, the adoption of new digital health solutions is often hindered by economic uncertainty and tightening IT budgets. In 2024, integration and interoperability will act as key enablers in bridging the gap between innovation and financial constraints, enabling the seamless exchange of data and accelerating digital health adoption at a lower cost.

In this scenario, the winners will be the teams who figure out how to adopt digital health solutions and integrate them into healthcare workflows at a lower cost.

The known challenges

Healthcare is undergoing a digital transformation, and innovation is accelerating. Unfortunately, a lot of this incredible innovation falls to the wayside because of economic uncertainty and the tightening of IT budgets.

Digital health solutions stand on the outside of healthcare providers’ IT systems. There’s a gap in getting that innovation into the hands of end users and patients. Integration is at the heart of closing that gap, bringing providers and healthcare technology companies together. In fact, interoperability is an enabler to accelerate digital health at a lower cost, reducing the friction between being budget-conscious and adopting new innovations.

The teams who streamline repetitive processes, automate manual tasks, adopt purpose-fit solutions to meet diverse needs and deliver on performance metrics will emerge as the winners.

Interoperability in the background

Healthcare providers and technology companies will no longer think about interoperability – and we don’t want them to.

Data scientists need to focus on analyzing information to discover actionable insights. Clinicians need to spend their 10 to 15 minutes in an exam room talking to their patient, answering questions and practicing at the top of their license. Development engineers need to dedicate their work hours to innovating and building the next feature or capability for their products.

Within healthcare, the technology and the expertise exist to help providers, payers, public health, health information exchanges and healthcare IT companies exchange data. Healthcare’s digital transformation happens when integration and interoperability no longer create tension or friction – when providers and digital health companies come together seamlessly.

Interoperability isn’t a goal unto itself. It’s about enabling others to do their work in advancing health and improving outcomes. There will continue to be a shift to where interoperability is the foundation for limitless innovation. It’s an enabler for precision medicine, personalized care and proactive health management.

The primacy of data privacy

Protecting personal health information and personally identifiable information will remain a top priority for all technology vendors. When talking about security, the technical concerns are solvable, and the industry has a good grasp of what’s needed and how to protect information. On the privacy side, however, there are still open questions of whether patients know where their data is going and who has access to it.

Technology vendors need to ensure the right guardrails are in place for appropriate use of patient data with the right level of transparency and accountability. Plus, when pulling in data from disparate sources – clinical and non-clinical data – we need to make sure it’s matched to the right person, uses the right terminology and is clinically accurate.

AI becomes practical

It’s hard to have a conversation about technology without mentioning AI or machine learning. This fascination makes sense especially in healthcare, when we talk about the positive impact these tools can have on clinician burnout, patient safety and operational efficiencies.

The industry can expect a shift in 2024 where AI and machine learning move from general buzz to more practical applications. As the hype cycle begins to taper, healthcare professionals and administrators will deploy AI embedded within their clinical, financial and operational systems or as apps for patient engagement or clinical decision support.

However, there is one important caveat. This technology must be integrated into end users’ workflows or it will fall by the wayside.

Sagnik Bhattacharya is CEO of Rhapsody.

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