Against the backdrop of a global health crisis, news that the U.S. federal government published its Final Rule on Interoperability likely went unnoticed to many delivery system leaders outside of healthcare IT. However, the federal mandate marks a very important milestone in U.S. patient health: mandating secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information.
The promise of interoperability has the capability to reduce medical spend, improve care quality and user experiences, and develop stronger public health service. It means informed and empowered patients/members.
Despite so many unknowns, now is the time for providers to take stock of their health system’s financial position and make proactive decisions around setting service rates, negotiating contracts, and mapping potential expansion opportunities. A good first step? Accessing comprehensive data on medical reimbursements.
It’s not entirely unexpected that communication may take a backseat to more pressing issues – such as serving the victims of the virus. COVID-19 has made things more difficult for all of us to work under a “normal course of business,” so it makes sense that health plans would be even more impacted. However, the issue may not be due to a lack of desire to communicate – but more, a lack of ability to communicate effectively.
Virtual care delivery offers much more than social distancing and convenience; it allows organizations to “meet the patient where they are” and overcome barriers to care such as lack of transportation and rural isolation.