Why Interoperability Initiatives are Accelerating

Why Interoperability Initiatives are Accelerating

Industry efforts to achieve interoperability have exploded in recent weeks, as several initiatives are working toward ways to advance the exchange of healthcare information.

Most recently, HL7 convened a strategy meeting in Chicago to bring together stakeholders to discuss gaps in interoperability efforts and ways to bridge those gaps. Earlier in October, a dozen major vendors of electronic health records systems agreed to a set of interoperability metrics in order to measure their progress. Other interoperability initiatives have been announced recently, some of them pairing diverse industry stakeholders.

One of those leading the charge is Micky Tripathi, presdent and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. Tripathi and three other industry experts helped to craft the standard interoperability measurement tool that will be used to gauge EHR vendor progress toward interoperability, and he led and moderated a recent KLAS Keystone Summit on how to measure interoperability and ongoing reporting.

Tripathi this week answered questions on the burst in activity in the healthcare industry toward achieving interoperability.

What is causing this dramatic spike in widespread interoperability initiatives? Are they all working on the same problem, or different facets of the same problem?

This is just a reflection of market maturity.  EHRs are now in place for most providers.  You couldn’t even seriously talk about interoperability before this.  But now that EHR use is above 90 percent for hospitals and more than 70 percent for ambulatory physicians, they are ready to now tackle interoperability, and they’re getting an added boost from rapid growth in so-called advanced payment models (ACO, PCMH and others), which create pretty strong motivation to be interoperable.

The healthcare industry is very fragmented and much more complicated than other sectors, though, so it takes a lot more collaboration to get anything standardized in healthcare than it does in almost any other industry.

These initiatives that are starting to spring up reflect growing market-based, bottom-up demand for interoperability.  The fact that there are many of them just reflects that healthcare is very diverse and fragmented, and different collaborations of stakeholders are trying to figure out how to best generate momentum for industry-wide solutions.  This is the market finally starting to work its magic to improve healthcare.

continue reading >>>