Interoperability in Health

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Publication Date:
March 2020
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Experts agree interoperability will unlock considerable value across healthcare

Interoperability—enabling information systems to share data—offers a wealth of opportunities for multiple health stakeholders, from pharma to payers to patients. Genuine patient centricity, precision medicine, consistently tracked outcomes and value-based care—these are just part of the vision that could be successfully realised with a joined-up approach to data. At present there are major issues to resolve before significant progress can be made, but the pace of change has stepped up. Where should pharma focus its attention and resources now in order to lead on interoperability?

Following in-depth background research, we spoke to three experts currently at the forefront of the interoperability revolution.

This report details the latest thinking and reveals multiple insights on all the key areas, including:

  • Why is interoperability so important for pharma? Some organisations are implementing interoperability strategies already and the pace of change is increasing. How can pharma leverage interoperability to deliver more efficient trials and precision medicine?
  • What progress has been made? Discover which organisations are the ones to watch and why—both within the healthcare sector and beyond. And get up to speed on the current situation regarding interoperability standards and international variations.
  • What is on the horizon? Interoperability benefits are beginning to emerge in trials. There is also a rethink underway regarding data ownership which is swaying towards the patient. What is the current mood regarding data privacy? Could interoperability be the driver needed to push precision medicine into the mainstream?
  • What pharma needs to know now when planning ahead. What are the enablers of progress? What barriers exist today and how to overcome them. Could the combination of patent-centricity and interoperability reshape the healthcare landscape going forward?

What to expect from this report

This is an emerging area for pharma and this report will provide a better understanding of the untapped potential of interoperability and how to release it. Investment and commitment is needed now and there is clearly some difficulty with linking what needs to happen with ROI. But a variety of initiatives already under the pharma spotlight—such as RWE generation or patient-centricity—could be boosted by better interoperability outcomes. Interoperability in Health identifies the core issues and sheds light on what needs to happen to move forward.

What did we do?

  • We identified 10 current issues regarding interoperability in health
  • We explored these through in-depth desk research to identify 15 key questions which we put to interoperability experts with up-to-date experience
  • From this we uncovered 30 unique new insights
  • Insights are supported by 51 directly quoted comments and 35 additional source references

Example insight from Interoperability in Health

"Patient centricity and interoperability could go hand-in-hand in health care. Patients are the source of the data that can be shared. Patients could be the ones who 'own' their own data and decide how it can be used, with a focus on how sharing data can benefit patients."

Example quote included in Interoperability in Health

"There are standards out there, but no one's broadly adopted them because it's not required to adopt them. There is FHIR. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others, they have all created FHIR compliance tools, which is helping people [in the health care industry] to use them because they've lent some legitimacy to those tools."
Senior Manager, Consultancy, US

The expert panel for Interoperability in Health

  • A senior manager working in the market research arm of a life sciences and health care practice of a global consultancy who has conducted extensive research on interoperability, based in a US office.
  • Manuel Morales, Chief Executive Officer, Nubentos, the API marketplace for health, Spain.
  • Jason Scott, Vice President, Informatics, Strategic Analytics & Insights, Anthem and Adjunct Faculty at University of Florida, US.

Why buy now?

If interoperability strategies are to succeed—and investment to reap rewards—a change in mindset is needed that includes: wholeheartedly embracing new technologies; entering partnerships with data and technology experts who sit outside the traditional pharma comfort zone; and resetting the company attitude towards information sharing in order to facilitate benefits for all. This report sets out what the future could look like and provides the basis for building a case for long-term commitment to turning the ideal of interoperability into a reality.

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