Unveiling the Challenges of Interoperability in Healthcare: Survey Insights

3 minute read

Communication in healthcare can be a real puzzle, with different organizations using various methods based on their needs and budget. It’s a constant battle to stay ahead of the communication curve to provide excellent care. That’s why we conducted the Healthcare Industry Survey on Interoperability. We wanted to dive deep into how healthcare organizations communicate, the challenges they face, and what drives better patient care and efficiency.

For too long interoperability has focused on equality, where everyone uses the same technology, and not on equity, where communication enables health services to be delivered where they are needed most. In order to achieve that mission, we need to understand not just how healthcare communicates today, but why, and what they are communicating, to ensure that the digital tools we create support those underlying workflows. So, let’s take a closer look at what we discovered in the survey.

Methodology-wise, we aimed to get a comprehensive picture of the industry. Our goal was to gather 1,000 responses for a statistically significant sample, and we ended up receiving a fantastic 1,342 responses. The survey was dynamic, meaning participants were asked different questions based on their demographics. This approach allowed us to gather valuable insights tailored to each respondent.

Here are some of the key findings:

  1. Communication Challenges: Respondents highlighted speed and timeliness, security and compliance, and interoperability between systems as their biggest communication challenges. It’s no surprise that improving communication was a top priority for 44% of respondents.
  2. Utilization of Communication Methods: Despite the prevalence of digital technology, traditional methods like email, fax machines, and physical mail/handoff still dominate healthcare communication. Astonishingly, faxing remains the go-to method for external communication, with almost 90% of respondents admitting to using it. In contrast, Direct Secure Messaging (DSM) was less common, utilized by only 44% of respondents.
  3. The Motivation Behind Fax Usage: We dug deeper into the reasons why faxing continues to hold its ground in healthcare. Convenience, security, and the fact that recipients require it were among the top factors influencing the decision to use fax as a communication tool.
  4. The Future Outlook: The survey indicated a growing interest in AI-enabled patient identification and the de-identification of HIPAA-covered documents. These innovative technologies have the potential to revolutionize communication and streamline workflows in the healthcare industry.

Read the full survey »

In conclusion, effective communication remains a significant challenge across healthcare organizations, regardless of their size or budget. Achieving true interoperability means not only understanding how healthcare communicates today but also why and what they are communicating. This knowledge is crucial for creating digital tools that align with the underlying workflows of healthcare professionals.

To overcome these challenges, it’s essential we listen to the needs and concerns of those directly involved in healthcare. Transitioning from paper faxing to cloud faxing could be a step in the right direction, enabling a hybrid approach that combines the best of both worlds. By embracing secure and digital workflows, we can enhance communication among stakeholders throughout the care continuum.

Remember, the goal is not to demonize faxing but to automate processes, smooth clinical workflows, and improve outcomes. Let’s work together to unlock the full potential of communication in healthcare.