The Power of Interoperability in an Electronic Record


The Basics

What if all the specialists involved in your client’s care were connected? What if you could see a complete record of your client’s history across the spectrum of providers in your community? This vision is now a reality, and interoperability is the key.

In today’s world, providers, whether they offer behavioral health or physical health services, are collaborating on an individual’s care and support by using electronic record-keeping to view a comprehensive record of the individual’s history and needs. In order to participate in this person-centered approach, it’s becoming critical for all providers to have an Electronic Health Record (EHR) that is interoperable with other systems in their respective networks. Interoperability, in simplest terms, is the capability of exchanging data automatically with other data management systems with correct interpretation of the information being shared. Below is an image we created to illustrate how interoperability works. More background can be found here: Interoperability for HIE.

Interoperability Comic

A Person-Centered Approach
In this scenario, when our individual arrives at the hospital, his doctor can treat him empowered by a comprehensive health history that includes notes entered by providers at other facilities into an EHR. The Health Information Exchange (HIE) hub traffics the data, with the EHR (AWARDS) as the conduit providing secure and confidential delivery. This coordination results in better treatment, money saved, and an overall better recovery.

What would it mean to those you serve if you had all the information you need to make faster, more informed decisions about their holistic needs?

Interoperability in Action

At Foothold, we’ve been taking proactive steps to prepare our providers to be a part of this vision of care coordination for years. We established partnerships with groups like InterSystems, the global leader of HIE technology, and integrated with our AWARDS software the Intersystems HealthShare platform, which is currently being used in HIEs across the US and around the world. In addition, we continue to participate in cutting edge projects with groups like New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and the Managed Care Technical Assistance Center (MCTAC) to create reporting standards for our customers and the industry.

As a federally certified EHR, AWARDS includes functionality with the ability to exchange data in a variety of ways. We are supporting customers with data exchange through Hub and Spoke-type models as well as through direct connections (like HISP for example). AWARDS is one of very few EHRs that have achieved interoperability and are actively participating in data exchanges today.

As forerunners of the movement to integrate healthcare, Foothold has been invited to speak to national audiences about how interoperability works and what it means for care providers. We often hold webinars, present at conferences and share information on our blog. Below are some examples:


From Black & White to Color, Interoperability as the New Norm Foothold Technology webinar with Marlowe Greenberg, CEO, Foothold Technology, Nance Shatzkin, CIO, Bronx RHIO, Daniel Lowy, VP, Argus Community, Inc., and Paul Grabscheid, VP of Strategic Planning, InterSystems.


Michael Blady of The Bridge, New York

Charlela Lacewell & Sarah Carbone of BronxWorks, New York

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What You Can Do

The landscape of healthcare is changing, and so are the tools all providers need to survive in it. At Foothold, our mission is to provide Human Service agencies the technology and support that will best position them for success. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your agency now and in the future contact us.