Interoperability:
The Bridge to Support
Home Care Data

Learn what interoperability is and how it
can positively impact your home care operations
 
 

Guide to Interoperability: The Bridge to Support Healthcare Data

Learn what interoperability is and how it can positively impact your home care operations 

Introduction to home care interoperability

Data flows from every point at which a person connects with the healthcare system. That information is both a product of the patient journey – and a key element in influencing that journey across the continuum of care 

Each time a patient sees a nurse, doctor, specialist or therapist, information is captured. From care plan updates to clinical metrics to blood tests to diagnostic imaging results to self-reported symptoms, data is generated. And that data is critical for providing individualized care, keeping people safe, and improving outcomes.  

This data, in a perfect world, is accessible by every care provider managing that patient. And it is available at every intersection in the patient journey. Being able to access, use and share this information requires interoperability.  

What is interoperability?

Interoperability in health care means that any institution’s IT system and software can exchange data safely, securely, and effectively, no matter what technology they may have. Interoperability is the bridge of communication between one IT system and another.
 
 API's text graphic

This coordination is critical as providers seek to provide best-possible care for the clients they serve. The rise of electronic health records (EHRs) is a necessary, but it has also resulted in disconnected patient information being stored in siloes. One EHR used in an office, another in the hospital, another by community care organizations, another in the specialist’s office.

But being able to support best possible health outcomes is to know the real-time, up-to-date clinical picture of each patient. And meeting such outcomes is increasingly critical as governments abandon fee-for-service models and expect measurable patient improvement.  

A quick word on APIs 

How can one agency’s IT system take data from another and translate it into a form it can understand and use? Because not all systems are built the same way, the answer to interoperability lies in Application Programming Interfaces, more commonly known as APIs.  

APIs are the lynchpins for IT systems to communicate with each other. They set the rule for how one application “talks” to the other, and how information passes back and forth. APIs are set up to ensure key data flows seamlessly, any time, so that patient information is not relegated to siloes.  

 

What does interoperability mean for home care agencies?  

If clients travel in different ways across the care continuum, it only makes sense that their data do the same? Interoperable EHRs facilitated through APIs provide caregivershospitals, tracking devices, labs and home care organizations with access to the full picture of their clients health status and history – dramatically boosting quality of care.    

Consider what could happen if a caregiver enters home without a complete picture of a client’s health- care status. An inability to access the care plan, referral details, recent hospital visits, and other key information risks compromising the delivery of the care requiredHaving to manually fill paperwork outside of an interoperable system also ups the likelihood for medical errors, which some estimates say may account for as many as 251,000 deaths annually in the U.S. – making medical errors the third leading cause of death.

Interoperability Survey Graphic

O
nly four percent of home health and hospice organizations usan EHR system, according to one recent report. Clearly, the opportunities for improvement are vast. Interoperability and APIs can help home care agencies improve their data management, open them into ecosystems of coordinated care, and achieve better outcomes for clients. 

“With the industry moving towards value-based purchasing, we knew we needed to place a larger emphasis on better outcomes and data collection to meet our expansion goals. Home care is seeing greater participation in Medicare Advantage Plans and transitional care programs for health-care systems and skilled nursing facilities, which are also important programs for Lifematters. AlayaCare offered a robust platform that delivered the flexibility and interoperability we required.”  

- Daniel Gold, COO, Lifematters 

The future possibilities for APIs are also vast, allowing a true Internet of Things (ioT) experience that enables patients and providers to access any data with ease, including lab data, imaging, and more.      

In this article we present the top five reasons why you must achieve interoperability. 

Additional resources

How AlayaCare supports interoperability 

Our teams recognize that legacy IT systems sometimes have outdated processes that make interoperability difficult to achieve. We are focused on working with home care organizations to decode ways they can achieve EHR interoperability.  

AlayaCare offers two unique methods to do so: REST APIs  and Partner Integrations.  

1) REST APIs  

Representational State Transfer – or “REST” – reflects the rules that developers must follow when developing APIs. AlayaCare offers a collection of REST APIs to each agency so that third-party solutions can be integrated into our platform. Because these REST APIs can be configured in any way needed to manage information, there is less need for any manual data entry 

In this way, our software is customizable and compatible with other digital tools an agency may need. In all, it is like a full home care platform that is functional, flexible, and efficient. To learn more, download our REST APIs guide 

2) Partner integrations  

Agencies can also approach interoperability through AlayaCare’s existing – and always evolving – list of partner integrations. These are third-party applications that are already integrated and functional within our platform. Our partners built APIs to work with AlayaCare, meaning each agency can achieve an interoperable system without developing the interface. To learn more about how you can leverage partnerships and integrations to improve outcomes, download our "how-to" guide on integrations and tech partners.

AlayaSphere Partners and Integrations Graphic

Explore our integrations and partner listings in the AlayaSphere.  

Over to you

Interoperability is a powerful concept that can have a major impact on your home care organization and it is increasingly important to have systems in place that allow for the quick access and exchange of accurate data to promote interoperability among industry stakeholders.

Get in touch with AlayaCare today to learn how we can support the road to interoperability to ultimately increase the quality of care, and the effective delivery of that care, to home care clients. 

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