​According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, interoperability standards provide a common language and set of expectations that enable interoperability between systems and devices. These enable health care practitioners and entities to share data regardless of application or market supplier.

However, there are some 40 different standards development organizations working to address the needs of a broad base of adopters. Practitioners still find it challenging to get the data they need from facility electronic health records, and they often must engage with several different systems with several different passwords and capabilities.

Despite efforts to improve interoperability, “I think this will continue to be an issue,” says Robert Choi, chief executive officer of Caraday Healthcare in Austin, Texas. However, he adds, there are ways to make interoperability happen. “I think this issue is setting expectations on health care partners and about what data are shared and with whom.”

Long term care industry experts have long known that clinical outcomes can be improved through increased physician engagement and availability, says Ian Strand, vice president of business development at New York-based Patient Pattern. Providers that try to dedicate themselves to practicing in this sector with traditional practice management tools struggle to achieve clinical goals and stay solvent, he says.

To be successful in an environment that is shifting to quality-based care, he says, “Providers need tools to help them better assess patients for risk and guide them through treatment protocols that are appropriate for the space, all in a workflow that is efficient enough to allow providers to hit their productivity goals.”