Healthcare Messaging and Interoperability

Interoperability – Something the industry can rally around

Healthcare messaging applications and architectures are among the fastest growing areas of mobile health.  At last month’s Health Care Messaging Conference, many providers were on display – including yours truly, OnPage. What was interesting about the conference was not just the range of providers  – indeed there were many – but also how much more than messaging the technologies have come to encompass.

To date, there are almost 200 different messaging vendors. In order to compete, vendors can no longer just provide messaging. Indeed, messaging is deemed as required. Moreover, every messaging solution targeting health care must provide opportunities to integrate with EHRs, alert or improve on call scheduling.

Conference organizer Tim McGee wrote in a publication earlier this year that he suspects that the market is starting to outgrow solutions that are limited to just messaging alone. Providers who offer just that have fallen by the wayside or run out of money.

So, with so many offerings and providers, can the industry rally around collaboration? Tim McGee and his colleague Satish Kavirajan are forward thinking individuals and asked OnPage’s Director of Enterprise Sales, Bill Van Loon to collaborate with them in presenting some thoughts on how an industry collaboration could work. Not sure why the industry would want to collaborate in the first place? Read on.

Imagine a scenario where the OnPage healthcare messaging solution is brought on to serve the needs of the internal medicine department at a hospital. The team uses the solution for secure messaging, to receive critical alerts, to escalate alerts, to improve workflow and to receive after hour requests from patients.

While the internal medicine department is happy with their solution, the cardiology department has independently chosen to use another technology for their secure messaging needs. So, what happens when internal medicine has a patient who needs a critical consult from cariology? Is the internal medicine physician left trying to reach the administrator of the cardiology department? Is there no way for one solution to communicate with another?

But, what if there was a technology that normalized all the secure communications or an API that allowed messages to be transmitted from one technology to another? Let’s be clear: there is nothing like this to date and it is a bit futuristic sounding. Maybe it sounds a bit like science fiction even. However, the idea makes sense.

As the adoption of secure messaging solutions becomes more ubiquitous, the need for interoperability will become more apparent and – dare we say – necessary. Again, there is nothing on the market today which enables this sort of connection between providers. However, we at OnPage are ready to work with our colleagues if and when the opportunity arises.

For now, this idea of interoperability is still on the drawing board. But, it’s a fascinating idea and one we hope has a future.

If you’re interested in learning more about how OnPage is preparing for the future every day, contact our team. We’d love to speak with you.

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