Google Cloud study finds overwhelming physician support for interoperability efforts

By | July 21, 2021

A new batch of research from Google Cloud finds near-universal agreement among physicians that interoperability should be a top priority for the hospitals and health systems where they practice.

WHY IT MATTERS
Of the 300-plus physicians polled by The Harris Poll by Google Cloud, 96% said efforts to enable access to needed clinical data will help improve patient safety and could help save lives. Only slightly fewer (95%) said more seamless data exchange will lead to better patient outcomes, while 86% percent said interoperability that ensures the right data is available for the right person at the right time enables faster diagnoses.

The clinicians surveyed say they have an appetite to provider “more personalized care with increased operational efficiency,” said Dr. Joe Corkery, director of product management for healthcare and life sciences at Google Cloud, in a blog post.

“More than 9 in 10 physicians say the ability to efficiently incorporate patient data into care plans is critical to care coordination (91%), and the use of inefficient electronic health records systems (which require excessive scrolling, pop-ups, manual data entry, etc.) has had a negative impact on their ability to deliver quality care (92%). Most physicians (90%) say if they could reduce the time they spend on reviewing/updating their patients’ healthcare records by 5%, they would be able to provide more personalized care.” 

Indeed, nearly two thirds of physicians polled (63%) said burdensome reporting systems were their biggest pain point.

If these docs think improved interoperability will improve the provider experience, they also think it will do the same for patient experience.

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“Physicians also say improved access to patient data would allow them to better communicate with patients (60%); more quickly identify high-risk patients (59%); better recommend appropriate treatments (56%); and make more accurate (53%) and quicker (49%) diagnoses,” said Corkery.

“That probably explains why nearly 9 in 10 physicians (87%) say data interoperability should be a priority at their healthcare organization right now, with nearly 2 in 5 (38%) saying it should be a high priority right now.”

THE LARGER TREND
Too often, electronic health records are presenting physicians with “disparate files and folders rather than presenting comprehensive, actionable data in a context that gives meaning,” as another recent study focused on provider experience shows.

So healthcare organizations are striving to comply with the interoperability and patient access rules put forth by both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and these agencies have promised continued outreach to help with policy understanding and regulatory compliance.

Some providers still have questions about the new rules, but help is out there – and there is an array of education sessions and demonstrations at the Interoperability Showcase scheduled for HIMSS21 in Las Vegas next month.

Meanwhile, interoperability standards and strategies continue to evolve as the fragmented U.S. healthcare system moves toward the ideal future state of “learning health system.”

ON THE RECORD
“COVID-19 affirmed the importance of data in healthcare, as the world rose to the challenge of understanding and fighting the pandemic,” said Corkery. “For decades, patient data has been stuck in silos, forcing physicians and caregivers to hunt across multiple sources for various bits of information to create a complete picture of a patient’s health.

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“This lack of data interoperability has not only slowed caregivers down, it has impacted their ability to provide the best possible care,” said Corkery. “On the flip side, investing in healthcare data interoperability opens up so many possibilities to improve care – and, to put it bluntly, save lives.”

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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