CONTRIBUTOR

The global market for health care data interoperability is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.2% during 2022–2030 and is expected to be worth nearly $16 billion by 2030, according to a report from The Insight Partners.

The study noted the health care interoperability solutions market is set for growth due to factors such as increasing adoption of digital health care solutions, rising health care costs, and the potential to reduce health care expenses, improve efficiency, enhance patient care and alleviate physician burnout.

Governments worldwide are grappling with escalating health care expenditure, making health care IT solutions more crucial, while new product launches, like CareCloud’s CareCloud Connector, contribute to market expansion.

Gregg Malkary, founder and managing director of Spyglass Consulting Group, explains a key strategy for scaling health care interoperability involves adopting standardized data formats.

“Health care organizations are increasingly adopting standards like HL7 and FHIR to ensure that data can be exchanged and understood across various systems,” he says. “They are also increasingly leveraging APIs to serve as a bridge to enable communications and seamless data sharing amongst disparate information systems within and among different health systems.”

Health care organizations are also increasingly adopting cloud based hyperscaler platforms to increase their scalability and flexibility especially within larger health care organizations, with a focus on transitioning business-oriented applications including ERP systems.

“There is resistance to transitioning their clinical information systems due to complexity and costs,” Malkary says. “We predict this will change as leading EHR systems migrate their core platforms to the cloud.”

Despite the critical importance of health care data exchange between health care facilities and insurance companies, common barriers to achieving seamless health care data exchange exist, including data privacy and security concerns and fragmented systems.

“Fragmented systems are especially problematic for larger health systems that have grown through acquisitions,” Malkary says. “Each of the hospitals and ambulatory environments may have standardized upon a different EHR. It is expensive to transition all facilities onto the same platform.”

He noted all health care organizations surveyed in a Spyglass report on disruptions in digital patient engagement were concerned about ensuring patient data remains private and secure, and in compliance with HIPAA regulations.

He points out various stakeholders will benefit from improved health care data interoperability, including health care providers, payers (insurance companies), patients and technology vendors.

“Improved interoperability streamlines care coordination, making health care delivery more efficient and reducing administrative burdens,” Malkary notes. “This ultimately benefits both patients and providers.”

For payers, enhanced interoperability offers more accurate and comprehensive patient data, enabling better risk assessment and cost management, while health care data exchange improvements help patients receive better care.

“Their medical history, test results, and treatment plans become more readily available to all authorized health care providers, leading to better health outcomes,” he says.

Dr. Harvey Castro, a physician and health care consultant, notes the landscape of healthcare interoperability is complex, necessitating a multifaceted approach to scale effectively.

He agrees adoption of standardized data exchange protocols such as HL7 FHIR and APIs are pivotal in enabling disparate systems to communicate seamlessly.

“Moreover, implementing robust data governance frameworks ensures data integrity and privacy during the exchange process,” he says.

Castro points out the financial and logistical burdens of upgrading legacy systems cannot be understated.

“To overcome these hurdles, a concerted effort must be made to harmonize data standards, bolster cybersecurity measures, and provide incentives for modernization,” he says.

Malkary adds companies providing interoperable health care solutions can profit from the demand for systems, tools and platforms that enable seamless data exchange.

“Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon, are playing an increasingly significant role in improving data interoperability,” he explains. “However, their involvement is also contributing to the complexity of end-to-end solutions, potentially necessitating health care organizations to outsource data and system management.”

Castro notes improved interoperability stands to benefit a broad spectrum of stakeholders financially.

“Health care providers can expect reduced administrative costs and enhanced efficiency, leading to better patient outcomes and higher reimbursement rates under value-based care models,” he says. “Insurance companies will likely see a decrease in overhead costs due to streamlined data processing and reduced claim disputes.”

Technology vendors that develop interoperability solutions will also find profitable opportunities as the demand for their products and services increases.

“Ultimately, the financial benefits can reverberate throughout the health care ecosystem, promoting a more cost-effective and patient-centric model of care,” Castro explains.