The Future of Healthcare Technologies and Interoperability

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently proposed new Rules in which the concept of INTEROPERABILITY will [continue to] increase the positive impact on our health system in general, and our own health care in particular, by utilizing electronic devices.

What does Interoperability mean? I will summarize it being a process by which different information systems using electronic devices &/or applications produce a resource that can optimally connect and use health data in a coordinated manner for the direct benefit of all of us, including health care providers.  Basically, it becomes the optimal method for diagnoses, tests and other data regarding each of our own health records to be shared for providers to appropriately know, assess and evaluate these facts to better treat any current and/or future patient medical issues. Clearly, these ongoing technological innovations will optimize the health and welfare of our population as a whole, and allow each of us to benefit by having access as well.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared: “These proposed rules strive to bring the nation’s healthcare system one step closer to a point where patients and clinicians have the access they need to all of a patient’s health information, helping them in making better choices about care and treatment.” For us, the advantage is a highly efficient system in which we will have access to all of our medical records, and eventually the processes to also assist in interpreting the data, thereby improving our health care.

Also, the proposed Rules will require healthcare providers to implement technologies to ensure patients have easy access to their information, along with the information being easily shared by other plans and providers with whom patients obtain follow-up healthcare, thereby preventing unnecessary and/or redundant procedures and testing….”giving clinicians the time to focus on improving care coordination and, ultimately, health outcomes,” as well as patients having “the tools to shop for and coordinate their own health care.”

Nearly everyone has heard of the iPhone, iPad, Mac Computers, iTunes, iCloud, etc.  Coinciding with the above technologies, Apple has also participated in the transformation of healthcare by developing its own Applications (Apps) for the operating systems in their iPhones and Apple Watch; you can view the online video when you click this Application link and then scroll down to “Watch the Video.”