When data interoperability is part of your approach, more data can be readily accessed and shared, and projects then become more streamlined and efficient.
For all the advancements made in fields such as data analytics, sensor device networking and data-driven decision-making, that same data can end up holding us back. Specifically, tying up data into respective silos rather than making it work as a cohesive whole prevents all of the amazing benefits that such technologies can offer.
This issue, known as data interoperability, represents a tremendous oversight that innovation seems to have passed over. In their effort to deliver sophisticated overlays or analysis technology, vendors neglected to consider how data might be used and where it might come from. Without the ability to access this data conveniently and share it across the needed processing platforms, much of the hard work of processing enormous data remains to be done. In the words of President Obama, “[W]e don’t want that data just trapped.”
Until interoperability becomes a priority for vendors, the insights promised by collectively analyzing data remain to be seen in full force. Fortunately, many are on top of the problem, including not only the federal government, whose work will go a long way, but also here at Annalect where we prioritize our neutrality, acting as a systems integrator to technologies. This approach allows us to connect data sets for better optimization, performance and consumer insights for our clients.
Breaking Down Data Silos
Interoperability is a pain point that plagues data users at all levels of our economy. Cloud-based systems have alleviated this pain by making data accessible nearly anywhere, but when said data is unable to be recognized by needed systems, it does little good.
Industries facing this problem are multitudinous, including construction. “[D]ata interoperability is extremely important in the construction process because as more data can be readily accessed and shared, projects then become more streamlined, more consistent and more efficient — providing value not only to project owners, but also across interworking teams and contributors.”
By sharing data, not only do workflows improve but so can the work itself. Architects, engineers and project owners all have unrestricted access to data, allowing for more input at the concept level, along with greater potential for a higher-quality project overall.
Healthcare Data Interoperability Needs a Shot in the Arm
Nowhere is this type of data-enabled collective input needed more direly than in the healthcare sector. The Center for Medical Interoperability located in Nashville has dedicated itself to tackling this very issue.
“The center is in the process of developing common communication standards for medical devices, with a multi-year plan that will bridge point-of-care information, health applications, enterprise technologies and, ultimately, national health information exchanges,” said Richard Cowart, chairman of Baker Donelson’s department of health law and policy. “The desire is for all patient data to be connected across the spectrum of care, whether home, ambulatory, acute or post-acute. The goal is for every health device to be able to ‘plug-and-play’ off a single interoperable platform.”
One of the major issues standing in the way of achieving this type of ‘plug-and-play’ capability is a lack of standards within vendor system design. However, government agencies like the FDA are strongly encouraging clinical trial investigators and study sponsors to invest in interoperable technology.
Encouragement is not enough, though, according to some, including Lancaster Regional Medical Center CEO Russell Baxley. “I think we played it out all wrong to get to where we need to be. There’s nothing pushing anybody toward true interoperability. The incentives and the penalties are placed on the wrong people. The only way we’ll have true interoperability is when the penalties are placed on the EHR providers and bonuses offered for those vendors to make their systems interoperable,” Baxley said.
While some are wary on this level of government enforcement at the product-creation level, such incentives and penalties may be needed to give vendors the push towards making their products work together. Until then, focusing on building a data infrastructure that is able to connect those data dots for you while ensuring compliance is your best bet for breeding collaboration and efficiency.
The post originally appeared at Annalect.com.