The idea of interoperability in software is simply that an action taken, such as the input of data, in one part of a system impacts the other parts of the system, or systems, that have a relationship to that action.
Why do you need a system with strong interoperability? Good question! A simple example of the benefit of interoperability would be with completion of a patient visit. At this time, a number of events can or should happen. Results are recorded or received via interfaces in the patient record. If the results are in one expected range, certain persons must be notified or action(s) taken, if in another a different set of actions and persons are involved. Each such individual or group usually requires different information. One would think that the system should take care of these interdependencies for you. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
The completed patient visit could trigger a medical billing event or a follow-up visit, or testing or procedures to be scheduled or performed. One would rather not have to re-enter information into a separate medical billing, scheduling or review module since most of the data required should already have been captured. The payer might be looking for particular supporting documentation for the invoice. Your clinical staff might need other clinical information, perhaps in a different view or format. Administration or management may want the same information but in another format and at a summary level, as would the doctors.
So how can you get all this in one system? Look for a system designed to be interoperable or with configurable pieces of the puzzle. Currently, most systems are developed using a functional approach. A function is a specific type of activity: data capture, scheduling, medical billing, or reporting. In a functional approach to software development, a complete functional module is developed independently. Then it is determined how to make the functions communicate with the other systems with which they live. They all have to work well together. This is relatively easy for software development teams to envision and develop, but many times the end results have very limited interoperability.
By contrast, a software team such as BayaTree, focusing on interoperability, and using modern object-oriented techniques, creates functions which can be given different “attributes” depending on the particular level of use which can be inserted where needed throughout the application. The result is a system that is far more interoperable and configurable. This might allow for the retirement of other legacy systems that have held you hostage for many years, or it may make it possible to interface with them. The end result might be superior performance with less IT overhead in terms of products to support, annual support fees, and IT headaches. Projects can move rapidly through the implementation process in which, and the old standard still holds true, time is money. So, in selecting a product, understand how the vendor plans development of their product, not just what functions it is capable of fulfilling.