Interoperability is a critical step in supporting scalable mobile health solutions.
By definition, interoperability is the ability to create end to end solutions by interconnecting components and systems from multiple vendors forming a network. When it comes to interoperability, what detrimental role will vendors who continue to offer closed end-to-end solutions contribute to the hinderance of scalable mobile health adoption?
In PwC’S recent article, “Interoperability: An Essential Component for Scalable mHealth” examines the benefits interoperability can bring to both providers and payors and how the the adoption of interoperability standards and guidelines has been inconsistent due to the entrenched business interests of vendors. This is the fourth installment of PwC’s mHealth Insights, a series of articles that delve deeper into the issues presented in Emerging mHealth: Paths for growth, a PwC-commissioned global survey about mobile health conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The value proposition of interoperability varies across stakeholders with providers reaping the most benefits followed by payers. In the article, PwC identified the following 3 key benefits of interoperability for scalable mobile health:
1. Lower costs
2. Greater specificity and convenience
3. Increased confidence among patients and regulators
Overall, the demand for greater interoperability stems from healthcare providers, payers, and regulators. Startups such as Eligible have embraced interoperability through utilizing open APIs while larger companies have been either totally resisted or been slow to apply interoperability standards and guidelines.
Healthcare providers, payors, and regulaors must apply more pressure on vendors to enable interoperability, instead of serving as roadblocks. The recent CommonWell Health Alliance between Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, AthenaHealth, Greenway Medical Technologies, and Relay Health is a good start. Only time will tell if the CommonWell Health Alliance proves fruitful in the quest for interoperability.
The full PwC mHealth Insights article is available here