What Is Interoperability in Healthcare
Interoperability is the extent to which systems and devices can exchange and interpret shared data. In healthcare, effective interoperability occurs when IT and software systems to exchange shared data to create information that can be used to assist clinicians and other medical professions with patient care.
Issues Healthcare Staff Are Currently Facing
“Staff suffer from increasing workload and stricter performance measures with less flexibility. This has caused psychological and physical stress…” Science Daily.com
It’s no secret that digitising healthcare IT systems has been a slow and frustrating process for all stakeholders involved, especially the end users who have the responsibility of delivering safe patient care in a secure manner. This adds further pressure to staff who are already suffering from increased workloads and limited resources.
“We physicians have the longest training time of any profession, yet we now spend roughly two-thirds of our workday as data-entry clerks, tending to digital paperwork and administrative burdens” – WSJ.com
How Is Data Currently Manifesting Itself in Healthcare?
- Notes entered into the EHR (electronic health record)
- Documents that have been scanned as image files or pdf documents
- Discrete data such as lab test results.
“The data arrives from many different sources and systems and in multiple formats. It has to be parsed into a format that everyone understands and has been trained to act upon in an appropriate manner” Alan Brookstone
- The Tech
Data presentation can negatively influence decision making if it is presented in an illogical or intuitive way
- Human Skills
The computer skills of all staff members and knowledge of their EHR has a significant impact on data interpretation. There are many reasons why some people are less digitally literate than others.
- Upgrades and Disruption
According to AmericanEHR one of the most frequent complaints of users is that their EHR does not have the necessary tools or capabilities to perform a certain function. Sometimes the staff are unaware that their EHR has the functionality as they haven’t been trained to use the product properly. In other cases their system may require an upgrade. Upgrades can be complex and entire servers may need to be shut down for maintenance. Consequently, upgrades are often delayed because of the disruption.
How Can We Succeed?
Lack of interoperability leads to poor outcomes, therefore the issue must be tackled to ensure quality control.
We believe merging simple-to-use, reliable technology and adequate human support and training will result in the ultimate success of any EHR implementation.
So a move towards cloud-based systems will have a definite advantage as the software is updated centrally by the vendor with limited need to update technology at the user end.
The most significant impact would become apparent with changes to government regulations. G Cloud is an initiative that assists with the procurement by public sector departments in the UK of cloud based commodity IT services. Traditionally, vendors have to be certified as compliant by the Department of Health which inhibits better products and slows down new system implementation. G Cloud is a way of shifting away from more primitive systems and offers a positive step towards improving the efficiency of EHR software and communication tools.
At Bitjam we pride ourselves on finding continuous ways to improve developer documentation, with cloud-based systems and use of more consistent data design at the forefront of what we do. Our mission is to use technology for social good, so if you have a digital healthcare problem that you’d like to solve, email us at [email protected] to find out more about our previous work.
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web
The Fight for Web Accessibility as a Human Right
It’s the mission of the web accessibility initiative (WAI) to provide access to digital information and communication technologies as a basic human right, therefore it’s important that it’s accessible to all.
The web breaks down communication barriers for those living with a disability in the physical world.
However when websites and digital services are poorly designed they exclude people from using the internet, which is the issue we’re going to be addressing in this blog post.
The UK healthcare sector has been adopting digital technology to improve patient services in the last few years. However there are over 6.9 million disabled people registered in the UK, which represents 19% of the working population, and they need to be able to use the same facilities and receive the same experiences as non-disabled. Therefore the NHS has a duty to provide them with continuing appropriate access in order to comply with accessibility policies.
Better Web Accessibility would Improve Unemployment
In the world today, over a billion people are registered as having a disability according to the World Health Organization.
Focusing on delivering such technology to a high quality standard could potentially benefit the UK economy also, as it could help an additional million more disabled people into work. According to disability charity Scope the UK economy would grow 1.7%, or £45bn.
It’s the responsibility of all web providers, especially those with high volumes of traffic or service providers, to contribute towards reducing discrimination that can occur if a web platform isn’t accessible.
The NHS offer varying text size, colour, PDF accessibility, keyboard navigation and video accessibility across their entire website to ensure patients and users have full use. Their website complies with the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Level AA guidelines for accessibility and they “remain committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of their site”. No matter any political decisions or budget cuts etc NHS web accessibility needs to remain a top priority to prevent discrimination.
Similarly, British public service broadcaster institution, the BBC, have “My Web, My Way”, as part of their web service. Their site provides accessibility help, enabling computer users to make the most of the internet whatever their ability or disability. The BBC ensure best practices are followed throughout all of their web pages to reduce discrimination and make their site available to everybody.
Technology is enjoying increasing success in the UK healthcare sector, and the introduction of digital tech that’s tailored to assist those with disabilities is revolutionary for those with physical world conditions. Focusing on continually innovating digital tech and improvements to human interaction services could see huge results and be the driving force behind the development of the NHS.
We’re proud to become an official provider of software and app development services for the Keele University Business Bridge programme.
What is the Business Bridge programme?
Staffordshire-based businesses within the healthcare markets can access funded specialist support, particularly services in technical and scientific advice, collaborative working on R&D projects and design, testing and validation of products. The expertise and facilities at Keele University can help you to gain a competitive advantage, granting a £7000 innovation fund to get a provider consultation.
The partnership between Keele University and University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust allows local eligible businesses to benefit from the expert advice, collaborative working and specialist facilities available from all of the organisations involved.
In order to qualify to provide this service, Keele have to have a number of preferred suppliers to provide services such as marketing and software design. Bitjam have been selected due to our extensive experience working on global healthcare tech solutions.
Collaborating with Local Business
We fit the required criteria because of our considerable knowledge and expertise in designing and collaborating on relevant projects in the health and social care industry.
Our strengths include using an agile methodology and co-production techniques to ensure the most efficient processes and have a team of full stack developers to carry out both front-end and back-end tasks, meaning deadlines are met on time and work is of a continuously high standard.
We’re looking forward to working collaboratively on some innovative new projects, bringing our experiences from the healthcare sector and effective ways of working to partner with other businesses in the local area.
If you’d like to know more about the programme, email Kylie Salmon here.