IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
InterSystems' study inspects ANZ's healthcare interoperability
Tue, 29th Nov 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

InterSystems has revealed expected changes in Australia and New Zealand's interoperability landscapes will impact currently limited data available for health analytics and boost data-driven care.

The company's new study, ‘The State of Healthcare Analytics & Interoperability Study Australia & New Zealand’, was conducted by tech advisory firm, Ecosystm for InterSystems. It surveyed 180 healthcare executives across public and private organisations, large and small hospitals, and city and rural locations.

Among its findings are that:

  • 94% of healthcare executives want to change their existing data exchange mechanisms
  • 66% want healthcare organisations to focus more on the standardisation of data exchange
  • Adoption of FHIR-enabled interoperability is expected to increase sixfold from 11% to 66%

According to the researchers, these improvements in interoperability would address limitations in the data available for health analytics. These limitations currently hamper data-driven care initiatives needed to meet community expectations and boost the effectiveness of healthcare without increasing costs, the researchers state.

Darren Jones, Country Manager, Australia and New Zealand for InterSystems, comments, “Healthcare organisations are currently limited in the datasets they can analyse. Because of data exchange issues, analytics solutions typically work within information silos, without access to the bigger picture. This limits innovation in the use of data to improve healthcare delivery.”

The survey found that around half (52%) of healthcare organisations could use inpatient clinical data in their health analytics solutions. But only 41% could analyse data from diagnostic systems, and only 38% could analyse patient administration data.

Clinical data from outpatient services was available for analysis at around a third (34%) of healthcare organisations surveyed. Fewer than a quarter could analyse text from communications systems (24%) or log files (23%). And fewer than a fifth (18%) could use sensor or medical device data for analytics.

A dramatic expected increase in the use of FHIR, or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, a global health data standard invented in Australia, would make it easier to exchange data between different healthcare information sources in a meaningful way and in real time, the researchers state.

While the study revealed a low base of FHIR adoption in Australia and New Zealand, with only 11% of organisations currently employing FHIR-enabled data exchange, this is set for a rapid upswing, with a further 55% of providers surveyed planning a shift to a FHIR-based interoperability platform.

The survey found that 67% of providers currently use more than one interoperability method. However, only 30% currently look beyond in-house API-based data exchanges (used by 63%) and bulk data transfer (56%) to standards-based interoperability methods, including IHE certified data exchange (27%), HL7/X12 interface engines (19%) and FHIR-enabled data exchange (11%).

As a result, the lack of access to real-time data is currently a significant challenge in implementing successful analytics solutions. The survey found it is a particular challenge for respondents in administrative roles (cited by 54%), clinical roles (47%), operations (43%) and management (41%), along with data quality.

Jones says, “The road to healthcare interoperability has been rocky. Obstacles include multiple jurisdictions and a complex public/private healthcare mix. But out of this adversity has come FHIR, a huge breakthrough in health data standards, which our study shows is on the cusp of mainstream adoption. Increased FHIR adoption would increase the data available for analytics and enable data-driven care initiatives to solve the challenges our healthcare systems face.”