Radical interoperability

Picking up speed to become a reality for the future of health  

The future of health envisions timely and relevant health and other data flowing between consumers, today’s health care incumbents, and new entrants. One fundamental enabler of this vision is radically interoperable data. This requires the cooperation of the entire industry, including hospitals, physicians, health plans, technology companies, medical device companies, pharma companies, and consumers.

In spring 2019, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions surveyed 100 technology executives at health systems, health plans, biopharma companies, and medtech companies and interviewed another 21 experts to understand the state of interoperability today.

Here’s what the executives say about the drivers of interoperability and which areas of health care will likely benefit most from it:

  • The biggest drivers in the industry for broader interoperability include value-based care (51%) and regulations (47%), according to survey respondents. Interviewees also pointed to consumer demand as a driver.
  • Cost of care (44%), consumer experience (38%), and care coordination and patient outcomes (36%) will benefit the most from broader industry interoperability in the next three years, according to survey respondents.

Executives also say that technology capabilities in health care are accelerating rapidly; the building blocks for interoperability are nearly in place. These include resources (people) and roles with expertise in interoperability, the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), and adoption of cloud.

Despite agreeing that interoperability is beneficial and that the technology building blocks are available, our research findings also indicate that the business case—clear measures of ROI, business incentives—to invest in interoperability needs to catch up.

Health care stakeholders that want to emerge as a leader in their use of data and analytics in the future of health should:

  • Prioritize interoperability at the leadership level by developing a clear understanding of how important interoperability is to the organization’s overall strategy, what it will enable for the business, as well as a vision for interoperability in the future.
  • Boldly invest strategically rather than tactically, by seizing the opportunity to focus on next-generation solutions and ensuring that all key business strategies (population health, M&A, value-based contracts or pricing strategies, real-world evidence, precision medicine) align with the organization’s interoperability strategy and future vision.
  • Establish a competency center that is responsible for the organization’s interoperability technology stack, data and interface standards, and leading architectural practices and patterns to drive adoption, increase competencies, and accelerate value.
  • Focus on interoperability in current and future partnerships. Be active, open, and curious, as there might be opportunities to collaborate differently with traditional competitors, regulators, large technology companies and startups, and community and nonprofit organizations than has been possible in the past.
  • Leverage the coming compliance, privacy, and security regulations as a key catalyst to drive enterprise momentum. Organizations that seek to leapfrog their interoperability capability can use these opportunities strategically to create momentum, visibility, and competency within their organization.

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