Sometimes it’s good to be different. If everyone and everything were the same, the world would be a boring place. 

In healthcare, though, variances can cause problems, especially when technology is the focus. Just like you can’t assemble a product purchased from a well-known Swedish home goods manufacturer without the necessary components — and a lot of patience — it’s difficult to integrate technology tools when there’s no standardization. 

It’s probably best to first define the type of standardization on which this blog focuses. I’m referring to functional IT standardization, which enables effective communication between systems and decreases variation for a consistent patient experience, improved quality of care and reduced operational costs. 

Standardization is still one of the biggest obstacles to healthcare interoperability. When done right, though, it leads to ease of integration, increased patient safety through mitigation of errors and less complexity, which allows businesses to scale more effectively. 

Improved Interoperability 

A study found that the lack of healthcare data interoperability costs the United States health system more than $30 billion annually. It also results in waste, inefficiency and clinician burnout, which can contribute to patient safety risk. 

The interoperability issue isn’t anything new – it’s been frustrating the healthcare industry for at least a decade. A well-designed solution must address privacy and security concerns while promoting interoperability with other systems and tools. It should enable communication between disparate systems, multiple devices and software systems while allowing data to be exchanged and interpreted by hospitals, physician practices, laboratories, pharmacies and other healthcare providers in a user-friendly way.

By promoting interoperability, paper records and other documentation can be converted to digital data to improve security and access to private or protected health information (PHI). Interoperability also aids in reducing physician burnout, which disparate EHR systems can compound.  

For patients, healthcare interoperability meets their expectations for convenience by giving them easy access to their full medical history. Plus, it lets them be more active in their own care and achieve continuity of care across all their providers. 

A popular method for achieving interoperability in healthcare is the development of application programming interfaces (APIs), which enable different software programs to communicate with one another and share data easily. APIs offer a cheaper and easier format of interoperability and enable advantages such as patient access to data, provider-to-provider exchange of information and the incorporation of clinical decision support tools. 

Ease of Integration

Quick and easy access to up-to-date data is crucial for healthcare providers. Integration connects disparate systems to allow data to flow from one source securely and automatically to another and combines data, reporting, workflows and functionality into a single system. 

When you integrate systems, you can eliminate electronic data file extractions and considerably reduce the time required for staff members to confirm all data has been transmitted correctly. Similarly, integration benefits provider practices by enabling better data-based decisions, reducing errors by eliminating manual tasks, helping bill more quickly and accurately, improving data analysis capabilities and providing easier expansion to other locations. 

What happens when you don’t prioritize integration in your practice? A lack of integrated systems results in inefficiencies and data quality issues, hindering operational and financial performance. And the incompatibility between the systems you have in place will likely lead to data silos, inconsistency and duplication. 

Simple Scalability 

The scalability of healthcare IT infrastructure is a simple concept. When you implement solutions that grow as your practice does, you can more easily expand them to multiple locations or departments as needed. You’re also more easily able to allocate resources efficiently and reduce your operational costs while maintaining the quality of care your patients have come to expect. 

Scalable communications systems especially enable you to adapt to fluctuating call volumes. The result is seamless communication and collaboration throughout your practice, whether you employ a team of ten or 100.

How RingRx Can Help Your Healthcare Practice 

RingRx’s cloud-based VoIP communications system allows for cross-site integration and collaboration and creates more seamless alignment for a multi-location enterprise. We integrate mobility deeply into our service, making communication between providers and staff members simpler and less time-consuming. In addition, we’re committed to offering integration opportunities with other software applications to help maximize efficiency and improve healthcare outcomes by sharing data. 

Open standards-based for ease of integration and extensibility, our platform is designed with a robust API at the forefront. All components are equipped with the type of interoperability required for integrating EMRs, revenue cycle management applications, reputation management solutions and more. That means we can implement our solution for you with as little disruption as possible to your existing technological ecosystem. 

Sign up today for a free 14-day trial of RingRx, and start your journey to a standardized communications infrastructure.