Interoperability Makes Operability Obsolete

Post Written By Guest Blogger, Andy DeLaO

I am attending my first HIMSS conference this year as a Social Media Ambassador. As I walk around the exhibit hall, listen to various talks, observe the messages, and connect with the people that work in this space of healthcare I hear a lot about “interoperability.”

HIMSS has a great page on defining what is interoperability. “It is defined as the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data. For two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user.” -HIMSS

As I simplify the topic a bit more, I realize that there are 2 root words that make up the whole:

Inter which means to bury or to make something obsolete and operability which means capable of being put into use or practice.

So I ask myself, have we created an industry that is motivated and rewarded for adopting IT systems that are made to make operability obsolete?

I realize that is not the intent, persay, however it is the way the “enterprise” has operationalized healthcare IT.

The vast majority of vendors focus (or at least should) on the customer journey map(s), the buying persona(s), and the outcome(s). With enough regulatory incentive, an injection of best practice sharing to allow everyone to jump on the same money train, and marketing storytelling healthcare organizations have adopted widgets that help to create more chaos. The enterprise rewards with buying more shiny widgets.

The reason why we are all here, the patient, is the very thing that everyone forgets in the “journey mapping” exercise.

The collective healthcare community needs to realize that people (as well as patients) don’t care about the enterprise. Many people have no clue that their local hospital is part of a larger medical industrial complex. People ask their friends, neighbors, and social groups who to trust and where to go.

You want to use healthcare IT to remove the seams from the patient journey and make the experience seamless, then you need to stop, listen, and empathize with patients. Not just once. Not even twice. You need to have patients at the table, co-creating and co-designing throughout the process.

Once you understand that, you can then overlay all the other stakeholders needs and wants, and then see where the seams exist. Solve for those seams and bumps.

Allow healthcare IT to realize their potential, to flatten the experience and remove the seams for everyone during the journey.

True scale occurs at the N of 1.