Technology: Connect and exchange data

Q. What is interoperability and why is it so important?
Thursday, October 22, 2015

A. Interoperability is the ability to share healthcare data across the care continuum. It is a key emerging trend in the HME industry, and is becoming equally important to all healthcare-related organizations. Interoperability enables these organizations to seamlessly communicate and share information to become more efficient, improve patient outcomes, and eliminate unnecessary costs. 

We are beginning to see an increasing number of referrals move through a number of electronic referral management systems. Such connections streamline the referral process for both the referring physicians’ office and the provider. This enables providers to decrease order entry time while strengthening referral relationships and creating new revenue sources.

The ability to connect and exchange information electronically with intelligent medical devices is another example, and I expect this area to explode. For example, recent integrations with leading CPAP and respiratory equipment manufacturers allow providers to accurately monitor their patients’ CPAP usage and compliance from within Brightree via data that is collected by the CPAP device. This automated exchange of information enables providers to enjoy new operational efficiencies. Patients can automatically be placed into resupply campaigns the moment they achieve compliance, thus increasing customer satisfaction, saving staff time, and improving cash flow. 

It is becoming increasingly evident that providers who cannot share data bi-directionally with acute care and physician practice management systems will risk losing a large number of their referral sources. In addition, when payers begin to demand electronic exchange of information and transparency, providers who are not electronically connected may become irrelevant.

Jana Macon is vice president of strategic services for Brightree. Reach her at