In a new report, seven hospital groups — including the American Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges — outline elements of the path to interoperability, such as security and connection beyond EHRs.
A total of seven hospital groups have released a report encouraging healthcare stakeholders to advance interoperability.
The report contributors include the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Federation of American Hospitals, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Children’s Hospital Association and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare.
Called Sharing Data, Saving Lives: The Hospital Agenda for Interoperability, the report outlines six elements of the pathway to interoperability. They are:
- Security and privacy. Stakeholders must be able to trust that shared information is secure, and manufacturers need to embed security and privacy requirements into each layer of the infrastructure.
- Efficient, usable solutions. Data needs to be available when and where it’s needed.
- Cost effective, enhanced infrastructure. The infrastructure used to connect information sharing networks has to be secure, cost-effective and updated over time.
- Standards that work. Connected systems require new and improved standards that are used consistently.
- Connecting beyond electronic health records. Interoperable systems must expand the reach of data sharing to address social determinants of health and population health.
- Shared best practices. All stakeholders need to collaborate to build on which practices work.
The report also highlights the benefits of interoperability, including improved care coordination, better safety and quality, empowered patients and families, increased efficiency, reduced costs and enhanced public health registries.
Naturally, there are challenges to achieving this goal, such as uneven tech adoption across facilities, differing standards for patient privacy across states, and shifting regulatory requirements.
But the aim, the groups say, is to ensure all stakeholders — including insurers, consumers, hospitals, clinicians, EHR vendors, HIEs, medical device companies and the government — do their part to make progress.
“We see interoperability in action all around us. Mobile phones can call each other regardless of make, model or operating system. The hospital field has made good headway, but it’s time to complete the job,” AHA president and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement. “We are united in calling for a truly interoperable system that allows all providers and patients to benefit from shared health records and data, leading to fully informed care decisions.”
The hospital groups aren’t the only ones to urge the industry to come together in the fight. In 2017, HIMSS issued its own call to action on interoperability. Its six-pronged call includes educating the community on the appropriate use of standards and pinpointing the “minimum necessary” business rules for trusted exchange.
Date: January 28, 2019