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The Challenge of Integrated ICT in Healthcare

Despite the widespread adoption of electronic health records and new technologies, one of the largest - and most critical - challenges the industry faces is the integration of healthcare data. Interoperability – the ability of computer systems or software to operate in conjunction with each other to make use of information – has been a long-term goal for the healthcare industry. However, there are several key challenges in its way.


3 Key Challenges for Integrated Health ICT

1.     Cultural Hindrances

At its core, the healthcare industry is built on care providers using legacy technology and rigid processes, tightly holding onto data to remain within the Privacy Act. Subsequently, the largest hurdle to be faced is changing perceptions on data sharing as a whole, to foster a true culture of integration. This means that the data generated, while managed and protected, still needs to be shared among authorised entities. Re-orienting the healthcare system towards improved integration and prevention of ongoing health issues costly to the industry requires a flexible workforce enabled by technology such as e-health applications.

2.     Point to Point Integrations

Integrated care feeds across all areas of the health industry – from GPs and specialists, to hospitals, laboratories, pharmacies, radiology and insurance providers. Partnerships often occur. However, too often integration systems are custom-built for point to point integration, creating a tangled web of connections and data unintentionally not shared with other care providers. Businesses should instead turn to an integration platform that provides a common interface for all systems. Initiatives in the US such as the CommonWell alliance and the SMART API platform are on the right track, but more must be done to push Australian healthcare ICT vendors to open up their systems.

3.     The Limitations of Data Interoperability

The third largest challenge is the actual infrastructure development and ICT integration across healthcare facilities, and ensuring medical data is standardised and able to work across all platforms. Already, there are resources being developed to address these limitations. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is an open health data standard that offers a promising approach to meeting the demand for semantic interoperability. It seeks to address the lack of a universal terminology standard that continues to be a major barrier to communication between different EHR systems and the ability to derive clinical meaning from data.

Vita Enterprise Solutions

Data sharing in the world of healthcare is critical to improving Australians’ health. As we get better at healthcare innovation and live longer, the need to provide a consistent view of patient data is the real problem to solve.

At Vita Enterprise Solutions, we can help assess your technology roadmap towards a fully data integrated approach and determine an integrated health IT solution that suits your business’ needs.  Make sure your company is ready for the upcoming changes by consulting with us. If you are unsure, talk to one of our trained professionals for advice on 1300 139 310 or enquire online today.

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