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The importance of interoperability in digital healthcare

What does interoperability mean? And why are we at Minddistrict a big advocate of it?

What is interoperability?

Interoperability in our case means enabling digital systems to communicate with each other so that different healthcare providers can work together. It comes down to being open and therefore able to give and receive data to others in a secure way.

To achieve this, an Application Programming Interface (API) is needed to ‘connect’ the different software, because not all systems can communicate with each other in the same way. An API ensures that organisations are still able to collaborate effectively via their different systems.

The need for effective information sharing

In the world of healthcare, new models of care constantly emerging means that it is more important than ever to invest in interoperability for effective information sharing. After this year particularly, the healthcare sector has turned to technology more than ever to help deliver care, which is a fantastic advantage, but one that means there are even more systems that need to effectively share sensitive information.

Illustration of a plug and socket as a symbol for interoperability

Adequate cooperation between care providers makes life a lot easier for clients, therapists and the organisations themselves, as well as enabling better managed care and optimised patient outcomes.

For example, if a client has already completed a certain questionnaire whilst under a particular health service, it is not ideal for them to have to do this again after a referral. Or, when a counsellor writes a report or makes a note about a session with a patient in one system, it’s an inconvenience for them to then have to fill it out again in another.

When NHSX unveiled their tech plan in early 2020, interoperability understandably had a significant mention - and with the subsequent appointment of their first Director of Standards and Interoperability, allowing systems to smoothly work together certainly remains a key priority for the NHS.

Our view on interoperability

Realising APIs is important because it provides immediate ease of use for the therapist and the client. By getting systems to communicate, hurdles are removed: a click of a button could get you right where you need to be.

We are working hard on interoperability at Minddistrict, because we want to prevent clients from having to provide the same information over and over, and healthcare providers from having to perform duplicate actions. Good interoperability ensures that a client’s journey through care systems is smooth, which in turn can increase a service’s uptake.

One of our core values as a company is openness. In a healthcare system in which it is becoming increasingly important to look beyond the boundaries of one's own organisation, there is basically no choice: organisations must be open for secure data exchange.

Let's link up

Do you have any questions about how the Minddistrict platform can effectively link up with software used by your healthcare organisation? Please get in touch.

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