Global Healthcare Interoperability Market, 2019–2024
Background: Interoperability refers to the ability to exchange data among applications. In healthcare, this generally means the ability to share data between electronic health record (EHR) systems and other health IT applications such as clinical decision support (CDS), computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems, and other systems in use in the healthcare space.
Interoperability can be achieved in many ways. The most efficient is through the use of application program interfaces (APIs). APIs provide a direct access to programs through program calls that utilize other programs as subroutines. APIs can be defined to provide access to basic data sets all the way to complete program processes. Artificial intelligence (AI), for example, is primarily done through APIs, where data is provided to an AI routine and where the AI routine returns process data or insights based on the data. APIs can be developed and provided by application vendors, but can also be developed by third parties. Other progressive ways to exchange data depend on the exchange of data files that are formatted in standard ways. Within healthcare, the fast healthcare interoperability resources (FHIR) standard has received new rules and promotion by the US Government's Department of Health and Human Services. Developed by the High Level 7 organization, FHIR provides a framework for data exchange that, while currently limited in its ability to handle unstructured data, still provides a foundation on which to build more robust data exchanges.
Market Outlook: Interoperability has become a critical consideration for all health IT applications. Globally, major healthcare stakeholders acknowledge the need to invest in digital infrastructure capabilities that facilitate cross-continuum patient information exchange and support evidence-based care, at scale.
Regulatory agencies are also embracing forward-thinking policies that advocate the need for major health IT vendors to become fully interoperable with each other. The objective is to drive a progressive digital healthcare approach, one that is standardized, collaborative, and multi-disciplinary, yet modular and API based.
Not everyone, however, is technically mature to make that approach a reality. Market-leading companies (HIT vendors and hospitals) in the US are expected to not comply with CMS’ 21st Century Cures Act, which provisions for safe and secure transfer of patient data across the care continuum, because of threats that range from breach of patient privacy to the overwhelming cost of commitment and significant penalties. Countries where HIT interoperability standards are equally important and regulated are projected to drive the market along with the US, driven by the entry of enterprise ICT companies (Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle) that promise to improve patient data accessibility across the globe on behalf of major payers, providers, and government agencies.
In the future, data interoperability between revenue cycle management (RCM), Electronic Medical Record (EMR), wearables, imaging, and supply chain IT solutions will mark a new era of holistic population health management. As a result, the population health management market, coupled with the social determinant of the health market, will continue to drive global market revenue in favor of healthcare interoperability solutions. Additionally, quality performance management during and post care will be the most important investment area for payers, providers, and government agencies. Data analytics and data interoperability solutions will be mainly utilized for purposes that serve the broader objective of value-based care, which is to report quality outcomes across the care continuum near real time. More importantly, the healthcare interoperability market will be primarily driven in the future by progressive healthcare stakeholders that are currently harnessing the power of AI technologies to support interdisciplinary treatment decisions across multiple disparate healthcare departments across the care continuum.
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