Healthcare integration is not a new concept. Many countries worldwide have implemented healthcare integration to create a seamless system that allows for better efficiency and better patient care. Fortunately, we have seen progress toward this health trend with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. From ensuring that every American has access to healthcare to allowing patients to have a greater say in their healthcare decisions.
However, the recent Coronavirus epidemic has exposed some of the weak spots in the healthcare industry. Despite the healthcare industry’s strong focus on the prevention of disease, the epidemic has revealed that, even with the best efforts, the healthcare industry’s infrastructure is not always adequate to handle unforeseen events. The research highlights the lack of interoperability and sharing of healthcare data. There is a lot of data, which is not always shared in a way that is beneficial to the patient.
It is no longer sufficient to use conventional IT to gather and share generic information about how the novel Coronavirus spreads, its symptoms, and test outcomes. COVID has raised a good deal of privacy, security, and compliance concerns that healthcare providers should address. To achieve a coordinated and genuinely integrated healthcare system, hospitals, healthcare providers, and insurance providers must reach a mutual understanding to work in the patient’s best interests.
- What is healthcare integration?
Healthcare integration still feels like a foreign concept for most. So, what exactly is it? It is coordinating all medical care – both in-clinic and outside the clinic – into one place. Besides scheduling, referrals, and finances, they will oversee all appointments. This additional layer of coordination allows doctors, nurses, and even patients to focus efforts on patient care instead of pushing one another out of the way. It is a shift from unidirectional care to a three-way approach that includes health systems, providers, and patients.
- What are the benefits of healthcare integration?
Health care organizations have adopted an integration model where providers do not align geographically. These integrations offer the following benefits:
-Improved patient experience
-Enhanced quality of care
To improve patient care, healthcare providers are increasingly embracing innovative technologies. With new technologies and treatments, patients can achieve better outcomes and greater health benefits than ever before—improved access to care, better patient outcomes, and lower costs of healthcare.
Although integrated healthcare systems can be costly, hospitals and physician groups can find significant benefits. Some benefits include:
-Increased market share
-More secure physician income
-Better quality of life for doctors
-Financially stronger organization
-Improved ability to adapt to changing healthcare environments
- What are the challenges of healthcare Integration?
The purpose of healthcare integration is to provide quality care to patients. Despite this, there are challenges in integrating healthcare. Some challenges include:
- Interoperability Challenges: New technologies are making it possible to integrate structured data into data lakes, which lets you store all your structured and unstructured data in one place. This HIPAA compliance data needs to be brought together within a well-defined architecture that uses technology and centralized infrastructure. The lack of standardization of data can pose a challenge to healthcare interoperability.
- Health Data Privacy: Integrating healthcare can raise privacy and compliance concerns. There are some healthcare institutions that understand the importance of protecting patient data. There has been increasing use of cloud computing in healthcare to avoid data silos. It gives access to specific data for particular durations.
- Data Inconsistency: Integrating a healthcare system requires consistent data. However, hospitals may use different applications for their patients. This could lead to inconsistency in data, which could negatively impact the integration of care.
- What plans do we have to develop new integrated healthcare models?
New models of integration are coming. Many of these models include linkages to alternative forms of health delivery and telehealth, as well as new social media links. Many of these new models will be extensions of the integrated organizations of today.
Alternative approaches to integration are already emerging as well. A good example is the development of common platforms for electronic health systems. With the continuous changes in health policy and a massive expansion in the number of treatments and medical centers, it is possible to provide quality, practical care to patients.
In addition, work continues to improve the efficiency of the revenue cycle, the supply chain, and information technology. Future integrated health systems will link to larger databases of customers and analyze the data. In order to provide more personalized healthcare software development, they will leverage their size and expand their capabilities.
As healthcare systems become more automated, as IT vendors provide common services, and as federal health programs adapt data requirements, we may be moving toward a single healthcare system without realizing it.
- How far and wide have we gone with healthcare integration?
As a first step, patients and communities demand health systems to deliver more comprehensive services. A wide range of stakeholders recognizes that health systems need to address mental illness and social determinants. In order to go even wider, they must also delve even deeper into:
-New communications tools
-Internally redesigned incentives
If integrated systems go wider and do not go further, patients and communities will have the impression that what they valued about an integrated healthcare system is lost to the obscure (and sometimes limited) features of a conglomerate.
Healthcare systems are larger than they were a decade ago. Yet, a well-integrated health system can go still further and do it more effectively. Systems are less bureaucratic, and they can disrupt and redesign internal connections so that they can identify areas where they can improve.
It is rare for integrated systems not to go wider. Many of the barriers to expanding the reach of key support groups have to do with how they accommodate them. Ideally, any deal needs to include new political wins.
- If money were not involved, how would integration proceed?
Integrating and merging healthcare organizations typically result in lower unit costs, improved efficiency, and quality gains. This is the reason health systems are being pushed to look more alike so as not to reinvent the wheel by spending lots of money. One need only looks around to see how integration is paying dividends – for example, in the supply chain, some overhead items, the revenue cycle, and quality.
However, the leadership or the communities can differ. These differences may entail a greater focus on details such as:
-Opportunities for team members to contribute
-The well-being of team members
- What are the other capabilities of healthcare integration?
Given the changes sweeping the healthcare landscape over the past few years, now is the time to take a step back and look at ways to optimize integration. The design of hospital information and communications systems, as well as the current and planned use of artificial intelligence (AI), must facilitate effective collaboration between hospitals, physicians, and payers. If one component is advancing rapidly, there must be a way to bring the other components along with in a way they can understand.
Integrating healthcare can lead to significant changes in healthcare practices. Healthcare providers need to be mindful of consumer trends, especially those that may affect the bottom line. Health trends, such as obesity, high deductible health plans, and a stagnant economy, can affect their bottom line. Integrating health can accomplish the following:
-Lower cost of serving a population
-Provide quality consistently
-Lower capital costs and costs per service unit
-Provide a better patient/customer experience
The field of healthcare is constantly evolving, which is clear from the increased variety of healthcare providers. However, healthcare integration challenges may hinder the delivery of medical services. Despite the challenges, they are manageable. By using technology, you can reduce costs, reduce errors, and give patients more time. It will be easier for the healthcare provider to engage with and communicate with patients.
However, before planning your strategy, identify your problems. In addition, you should have an IT team that can help you with any software difficulties that might arise. In order to use existing best practices, developers need particular skills and experience to implement highly integrated healthcare solutions. When it comes to outsourcing software integration, Yalantis.com can provide native app development expertise, expertise in customization solutions, and experience in building efficient healthcare integration ecosystems.
A dedicated team at Yalantis can help your team and partners adapt to your software system while enhancing its utility and usability. As part of this, the company will provide continuous support, gather end-user feedback, improve the system, as well as train its employees.