ehr interoperability solutions

3 Capabilities of EHR Interoperability Solutions for More Effective Healthcare

When President George W. Bush drafted his 10-year healthcare information technology plan in 2004, he saw computerizing health records as a way to eliminate medical errors, reduce costs, and improve patient care. He envisioned a system where patients did not have to list medications or allergies each time they visited a physician. 

The goal was a system where doctors and nurses could effectively find the best treatment plan for patients based on their full medical history. A system where physicians could receive the same guidance on treatment protocols for people reporting the same symptoms in different medical settings. 

Despite the ambitious vision set forth nearly two decades ago, the journey toward seamless electronic health record (EHR) interoperability has been fraught with challenges. As the healthcare industry continues to grapple with data silos, disconnected systems, and interrupted clinician workflows, it becomes increasingly evident that achieving the desired level of integration requires more than just technology implementation. 

To truly unlock the transformative potential of EHR interoperability and deliver on the promise of improved patient care, healthcare organizations must adopt EHR workflow interoperability solutions that possess critical characteristics tailored to address these long-standing obstacles.

Critical Characteristics of EHR Interoperability Solutions

While significant progress has been made, electronic healthcare record (EHR) interoperability has not reached the expected level of integration. Most EHR interoperability solutions stop at level 3 interoperability, where systems understand the value of the data exchanged but do not act upon it. 

Related: Beyond Data Sharing: The Power of Workflow Interoperability

To achieve level 4, medical facilities must eliminate data silos and disconnected systems that interrupt clinician workflows. They need strategies to unlock the full potential of their technology investments. They need accessible solutions that automatically deliver actionable information.

Characteristic #1: Accessible Interoperability

Any effective EHR workflow interoperability solution must include effective, streamlined accessibility. In many installations, though, accessibility means using buttons to locate external third-party solutions. Although these current solutions do make information available, their implementation does not make them easily accessible. 


EHR systems have drop-down menus that list external applications. By selecting the button associated with the desired application, clinicians are sent to a third-party application for reference material, treatment insights, or pharmaceutical data. Locating information requires a clinician to know what they’re looking for and scroll through lists of possible solutions.


Ribbons are another option for accessing data. Ribbons highlight relevant insights or recommendations that a clinician can access. The applications may provide valuable information that can help physicians and patients find an acceptable care plan. However, data exchange is one-way, and physicians must manually enter or copy and paste the data into the EHR system.

Workflow Integration

Effectively integrating third-party information into clinicians’ workflows keeps them focused on the patient. They are not trying to locate pertinent information while listening to a list of symptoms. The process allows medical professionals to access comprehensive and accurate insights quickly. It gives them relevant data-driven recommendations for patient care. 

True workflow integration allows the end user to incorporate data-driven recommendations into an EHR without resorting to manual entry. Whether it’s treatment recommendations or detailed diagnosis insights, clinicians can easily write the information to the record by clicking a button. This level of accessibility produces actionable insights for better patient outcomes and improved quality of care.

Characteristic #2: Actionable Interoperability

Actionable insights from EHR integration come in two forms. Healthcare providers receive better visibility across multiple settings for data-driven recommendations to reduce costs and deliver better patient outcomes. Clinicians expand their available resources through workflow integration to improve patient care. 

Healthcare Providers

The healthcare industry has established metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of healthcare providers. For example, the US Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a framework for measuring the following eight healthcare priorities:

  • Person-Centered Care
  • Safety
  • Chronic Conditions
  • Seamless Care Coordination
  • Equity
  • Affordability and Efficiency
  • Wellness and Prevention
  • Behavioral Health

These metrics are used to assess patient care and to determine reimbursements. 

Integrating third-party analytics tools that incorporate artificial intelligence makes it easier for providers to use data-driven decisions to improve their metrics in the eight priorities of care.

Many providers still rely on manual processes to establish the metrics used to assess performance. This process consumes hundreds of hours as staff comb through patient records. With an integrated solution, health providers can reduce labor costs and shorten the time to introduce improvements to patient care.

Real-time access to quality-defining metrics allows healthcare providers to implement new protocols to meet mandated scores. Providing comprehensive data may require multiple solutions that require integration at the enterprise level. Without EHR workflow interoperability, the actionable data would depend on time-consuming manual processes.


Clinicians benefit from effective EHR workflow interoperability solutions that support actionable insights from the data-driven recommendations of best-in-class external third-party solutions. Often, when practitioners use external solutions, they must find the solutions. This often requires leaving the EHR finding the solutions, logging and looking up the patent and relevant recommendations, which is repetitive, time-consuming, and frustrating. 

Eliminating manual processes frees up clinician time for more patient-centric tasks. Patient care becomes more comprehensive if the data driven recommendations can be accessed with zero or one click of a button and is more accurate when physicians are not rushed. 

Related: Considerations for Choosing an EHR API Integration Solution 

Analytics solutions can deliver better results with best-in-class, data-driven recommendations. However, data analysis is only as good as it is accessible and actionable. If the recommendations cannot be easily accessed and ingested, then patient care can suffer, and clinician burnout can increase.

External solutions that deliver actionable insights to clinicians at the point of care improve the patient experience and provide more accurate, relevant recommendations for improving patient care. Automating the process ensures that critical recommendations are available in real-time for better patient outcomes and improved provider performance.

Characteristic #3: Automated Interoperability

Most third-party applications connect to an EHR through an application programming interface (API). APIs define how information is exchanged and how the solution integrates into the EHR. The more interoperability, the more integrated the solution, allowing clinicians to see context-specific recommendations and care plans in their existing workflows.

Instead of searching through drop-down menus for a specific application, true EHR decision workflow interoperability can show the appropriate insights based on the current patient interaction. Information from different systems can be consolidated to surface actionable data within a clinician’s standard workflow. 

When clinicians implement the recommendations that have been surfaced, the data can be written to the healthcare record as well as other systems being used for performance monitoring. 

Automation can make patient interactions move more smoothly. It can rely on AI or similar technologies to rapidly review databases to provide the appropriate treatment plan. Automated solutions make best-in-class recommendations accessible and actionable without adding to the burden of an already overwhelmed staff.

Building an Accessible, Actionable, and Automated EHR Interoperability Solution

A competitive marketplace mandates that EHR systems integrate external solutions for better interoperability. It is no longer enough to exchange valued data. Interoperability means delivering context-appropriate insights in real time for improved patient outcomes.

Caregivers should not waste valuable time on data entry, navigating external websites, or searching through menu lists. With the Insiteflow EHR Decision Workflow platform, healthcare providers and their care teams can improve clinical outcomes and financial performance through the seamless integration of third-party solutions. Insiteflow’s software as a service (SaaS) platform empowers healthcare providers to make informed decisions on patient care without leaving their EHR interface. Insiteflow delivers accessible, actionable, and automated solutions to improve patient care, reduce healthcare costs, and achieve high-performance standards. Schedule a demo to see how it works.