Interoperability is one of the challenges facing the integration of advanced technologies in healthcare. Interoperability entails involvement of many complicated layers of functional and technical requirements (Robkin, Weininger, Preciado & Goldman, 2015). It has many practical technical and commercial implications which influence implementation and adoption. Interoperability is the key to improve healthcare delivery and thus has become important in the contemporary society. Interoperability in a medical setting can be said to exist when all relevant information is available whenever needed regardless of all desire interactions between disparate agents. These agents include devices, systems, and individuals. The idea of medical device interoperability has been characterized in a wide range of ways by different scholars. Medicinal device interoperability is the capacity to securely, safely and adequately exchange and utilize data among one or more gadgets, items, products, or frameworks (Kasparick, Schlichting, Golatowski & Timmermann, 2015, October).
Medical device interoperability involves the integration of system in healthcare that enhances diagnostic and therapeutic services and furthermore helps in imparting information to electronic health records. These aids in conveying upgraded clinical decision support, securely and adequately. The exchange done in medical device interoperability can be used in various ways. This incorporates display, storage, interpretation, analysis and programmed control of different products. As the capacity of connected frameworks to securely, safely and viable exchange and use the data becomes critical, the concept of medical device interoperability becomes more imperative. Interoperability devices with the capacity to share data across systems and platforms can enhance patients care; empower advancement and decrease errors and adverse events in a health care setting. However, cyber security concerns ascend alongside the expanding medicinal device interoperability.
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Currently, interoperability is an enigmatically characterized idea around which practically everybody involved has some ideas to its usefulness and need (Robkin et al., 2015). However, it’s basic that interoperability is carefully defined with the end goal of need, usefulness, advantages, and difficulties. Adoption of medical device interoperability will come with various advantages which include; improving the medical device quality and accelerating adoption of new clinical technology (Kasparick et al., 2015). It will also help in assistance of advancement of innovative ways to deal with the change of patients’ security and quality healthcare. Medical device operability will also help reduce the resources used to customize interfaces. More accurate and complete patient data will be received upon implementation of the medical device operability.
Despite having been successful in the implementation of medical device integration, there are some challenges still facing the concept (Sametinger, Rozenblit, Lysecky & Ott, 2015). Attempts to solve problems related to the interoperability prompt blame rather than the implementation of solutions. Additionally, there is a lot of complexity in maintenance links in the communication chain. The affirmation that all are complete and accurate has reduced. Also, usage of the medicinal device operability is expensive. Additionally, all the information required to address a clinical situation might be absent regardless of the integration. The medical device operability is complex and therefore hinders research that could prompt enhanced patients to care. The improvement of the software needed to integrate devices can create quality and performance issues that might lead to unsafe conditions. To use the interoperability system, ‘drivers’ responsible must be installed first, which may hinder an emergency use. The implementation of the system is a custom which means, it requires significant effort by implementers (Sametinger et al., 2015). The main aim of medical device interoperability is to help share data and information electronically throughout the healthcare sector and across multiple providers in a region or state.
Medical device interoperability has some disadvantage and advantages. Some of the advantages include the increasing patients’ safety, security and well being. The aging health care system is leaving patients’ information vulnerable. System operability will, therefore, help improve the healthcare landscape by which will help in improving patients’ data safety and security. The other advantage is the decreasing cost associated with a legacy in integrated healthcare systems. The interoperability has made the cost to be affordable and could save taxpayers more than 30 billion dollars a year if implemented (Kasparick et al., 2015). Another advantage is the increasing employee productivity. Without medical device operability, employees’ productivity can be hindered, patients’ discharge times can skyrocket and hard earned information technology money can go to waste According to the research, it’s approximated that the yearly cost of lost productivity and increased patient release rate for United States hospitals is around 8.3 billion dollars (Weininger, Jaffe, Robkin, Rausch, Arney & Goldman, 2016). Interoperability is, therefore, a must for the healthcare sector.
However, despite the growing benefits and importance of the interoperability, there are some disadvantages associated with the implementation and usage of the system. These include the financial issues where the maintenance of the interoperability system can be very costly due to hardware replacement and software upgrade. Other factors include the adjustments in the work process, temporary loss of productivity related to interoperability adoption and privacy and security concerns. The risk of patients’ privacy infringement is an increasing concern for the patient due to the increased amount of health information exchange. There might be some unintended mechanical results which include medical errors, negative emotion, change in control structure and overdependence on technology. The users of the interoperability framework may encounter forceful emotional responses as they battle to adjust to innovation and disruption in their workflow (Kasparick, Schlichting, Golatowski & Timmermann, 2015, August). Although there are many unintended consequences and drawbacks associated with the implementation of medical device operability, the advantages of the system outweigh the disadvantages, especially at the society level.
For any Medical device to work, configuration, testing, and data flow must be considered. First, when there is a requirement for data to flow from a device to another computerized framework, it’s a custom engineering issue regularly requiring exceptional interfacing programming and additional procedures, including costs and potentially reducing overall system reliability. Secondly, significant labor is also considered for configuration and testing of the medical device operability (Weininger et al., 2016). Solving the problem for one pair of the system is little help with the next pair. The engineers use the ‘plug and play’ when operating the medical device interoperability. Vital signs and settings like infusion rates, alarm events, and configuration, must be kept in consideration when working with the medical device interoperability. The flow of data must also be monitored.
- Robkin, M., Weininger, S., Preciado, B., & Goldman, J. (2015, May). Levels of conceptual interoperability model for healthcare framework for safe medical device interoperability. In Product Compliance Engineering (ISPCE), 2015 IEEE Symposium on (pp. 1-8). IEEE.
- Kasparick, M., Schlichting, S., Golatowski, F., & Timmermann, D. (2015, August). New IEEE 11073 standards for interoperable, networked point-of-care medical devices. In Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC), 2015 37th Annual International Conference of the IEEE (pp. 1721-1724). IEEE.
- Sametinger, J., Rozenblit, J., Lysecky, R., & Ott, P. (2015). Security challenges for medical devices. Communications of the ACM, 58(4), 74-82.
- Kasparick, M., Schlichting, S., Golatowski, F., & Timmermann, D. (2015, October). Medical DPWS: New IEEE 11073 standard for safe and interoperable medical device communication. In Standards for Communications and Networking (CSCN), 2015 IEEE Conference on (pp. 212-217). IEEE.
- Weininger, S., Jaffe, M. B., Robkin, M., Rausch, T., Arney, D., & Goldman, J. M. (2016). The importance of state and context in safe interoperable medical systems. IEEE journal of translational engineering in health and medicine, 4, 1-10.