Investing in Interoperability

Samara Rosenfeld
MARCH 14, 2019

It has been just over a month since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed new rules to improve the interoperability of electronic health information.

Days after the proposed rules were announced, Inside Digital Health™ had the opportunity to talk to two executives at HIMSS about what the rules and the path we are on to achieving it.

Creating Competition to Drive Innovation

Dave Levin, M.D., co-founder and chief medical officer at Sansoro Health, said that it is very clear that the theme of the proposed rules is competition. He said that the government is trying to create a level playing field to promote market forces and competition because that is what will drive innovation at a faster pace in healthcare.

The focus on interoperability is because it is the foundation for building the next generation of health IT — which will look more like an app store kind of economy, Levin said. Interoperability represents the ability of these applications to show up, plug-in, exchange data and collaborate.

While other industries have used this approach, it is new to healthcare.

The lack of interoperability makes the data difficult to flow and because it is so hard to deploy and integrate, it is hard for companies to get on the playing field and compete and evolve and improve.

“I think we are on the road to what I call personalized health (information technology),” Levin said.

We are going to need information systems that reflect the differences in style and workflow for a wide range of physicians, specialists and health system employees.

“So, interoperability is really the foundational piece that allows the creation of these new kinds of applications, but also allows them to evolve much more quickly to fill these different niches in a more effective way,” Levin said.

The Government's Role in Interoperability

John D’Amore, president and chief strategy officer at Diameter Health, said that what we are hearing from the government is that interoperability was a cornerstone of meaningful use in getting started with electronic health records, and that over time, it has been continually getting invested in.

Although for many people, it is hard to see that interoperability is actually happening, it is, but it is not evenly distributed.

Some health systems or pockets of the nation have seamless interoperability and can put data to good use to improve patient care and the analytics associated with it, D’Amore said.

And the federal government plays a key role in that.

The government can support standards like HL7 V2, CCDA and FHIR, and anchor what payers and the larger provider community will look at to see the direction for where interoperability goes in the future.

Get the best insights in healthcare analytics directly to your inbox.

Dig Deeper
What Is Being Done About Healthcare's Lack of Interoperability?
Weighing the Benefits and Challenges of Interoperability
Treating Healthcare IT's Interoperability Problem

Become a contributor