Data Interoperability: Streamlined Operations in Healthcare and Beyond

Learn about the principles of interoperability and how they can help your organization harness the full power of its data at scale.
September 12, 2023
data interoperability

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, data reigns supreme. Across industries, businesses of all sizes are constantly collecting vast amounts of information, and harnessing this data holds the key to making informed decisions, optimizing operations, and staying competitive in the market. However, managing this data efficiently and effectively can be a complex challenge, especially for rapidly growing enterprises with complex organizational structures. 

Take, for example, the realm of healthcare, where data has become the cornerstone of patient care, research, and operational efficiency. To make informed decisions and improve patient outcomes, healthcare providers must be able to quickly, securely, and reliably access important medical data, which means information like electronic health records (EHRs) and medical imaging needs to be easily shared across entire networks of medical professionals while adhering to rigorous privacy and security standards.

At its core, data interoperability refers to the ability of different systems, software, and databases to seamlessly exchange and make use of data. The data a growing organization has amassed is only as useful as it is communicable between various departments, platforms, tools, and applications without losing its meaning or integrity. To achieve the degree of lightning-fast interoperability the modern marketplace requires, many enterprise users are migrating their data to cloud-based data platforms like the Snowflake Data Cloud, which can act as a unified source of truth for an entire organization.

Why Data Interoperability Matters for Businesses

While the reasons that interoperability is an important consideration when planning data architecture are fairly straightforward, less obvious are the ways interoperability can directly improve business outcomes. The benefits of interoperability for enterprise users are myriad, and include: 

Efficient Data Sharing: One of the primary advantages of data interoperability is the ability to share information effortlessly. When, for instance, your CRM system can talk to your marketing automation platform, or your e-commerce website can sync with your inventory management software, it streamlines processes and reduces manual data entry. This efficiency leads to time and cost savings.

Informed Decision-Making: Interoperable data provides a holistic view of your business operations. With all your data interconnected, you can make data-driven decisions with confidence. Whether it’s analyzing customer behavior, tracking inventory levels, or measuring marketing campaign success, having a comprehensive dataset at your fingertips is invaluable.

Enhanced Customer Experience: When your data flows seamlessly, it improves the customer experience. Returning to an example in the healthcare sector, this can look like an emergency room team’s ability to review a patient’s entire medical history at a glance and make  life-saving choices in real time. Outside of healthcare, integrated data can improve the quality of sales or customer support interactions, where knowledge about a customer’s past purchases or experiences can prove invaluable to anticipating future needs.

Scalability and Adaptability: As your business grows and evolves, you’ll likely continue to adopt new tools and systems. Data interoperability ensures that these additions can integrate smoothly into your existing data ecosystem. It’s a future-proofing strategy that saves you from having to reinvent the wheel at every new turn in your data innovation journey.

Compliance and Security: Data security standards and privacy regulations across industries demand transparency and control over the data you collect and manage. Interoperable data systems make it easier to manage compliance and ensure data security by giving you a centralized view of where your data resides and who is able to access it. 

Putting Data Interoperability into Action

Having established the value that data interoperability can bring to an organization, it is equally valuable to discuss how your business can begin to improve the interoperability of its data. This process involves several key steps:

Assessment: Start by assessing your current data landscape. Identify the systems and databases that need to communicate and the data that needs to be shared. At this stage, it is beneficial to consider the benefits of migrating your data to a platform like the Snowflake Data Cloud, which can simplify your data architecture and create a unified source of truth for your business. 

Choose the Right Tools: Invest in interoperable software solutions and platforms that can seamlessly integrate with other technologies across the modern data stack. Cloud-based services like Snowflake are often a great choice for scalability and flexibility, and are built with cross-stack interoperability in mind. 

Interoperability faces additional challenges in industries like healthcare, where data is highly regulated. Standards like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), for instance, require data to be readable by both humans and machines, which in turn makes data more difficult to load and transform. Fortunately, tools like Hakkoda’s FHIR Data Loader are built with exactly these complexities in mind, making it easier for healthcare teams to build pipelines for loading FHIR data into Snowflake and deliver business outcomes more rapidly.

Data Standards, Compliance, and Security: Establish data standards and protocols to ensure consistency across your organization. This includes data naming conventions, formats, and security measures that will keep your data accessible across departments and readable across systems. Tools like the Alation Data Catalog simplify data standardization by acting as a single source of reference for your entire organization and automatically indexing information by source while democratizing access securely and in full compliance to your organization’s data standards. 

Data Security Platforms like Immuta, meanwhile, integrate seamlessly into cloud environments and make it simple for enterprises to secure and govern data at scale. Immuta’s dynamic access control and policy management make it easy to prove compliance with rules and regulations, which in turn simplifies the process of securing and governing data at scale.

The Future of Data Interoperability

Data interoperability is the bridge that connects your data to your systems and business objectives. It empowers you to make informed decisions, streamline operations, and ultimately drive growth and success. By embracing data interoperability, your business can harness the full potential of its data resources and stay ahead in the data-driven era. Interoperability is also easier to accomplish than ever before, with cloud-based data platforms like Snowflake that unify databases into a single source of truth that can be shared at scale across an entire organization. 

At Hakkoda, our highly-trained teams leverage expertise across the modern data stack to build scalable, future-proofed data solutions using cutting-edge tools and technologies. We bring data engineering, data science, governance, and privacy expertise to solving your organization’s greatest data challenges and guiding you down the path to what comes next. Ready to start your data innovation journey? Let’s talk.

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