It’s an understatement to say that the healthcare industry is in the midst of massive change at every level. From As a part of the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) refers to the portion of the ARRA that is used to increase the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by ph... to Obamacare at the high level, to patient-generated health data and An HL7 standard that is short for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources and pronounced “Fire”. The standard defines a set of “Resources” that represent granular clinical concepts. The resources provide flexibility for a range of healthca... on the ground floor, changes are happening in all sectors, both within each sector and across them, as well:
- Hospitals are acquiring not only other hospitals but also physician practices
- Medical providers are opening accountable care practices that may function alongside still-operating, traditional fee-for-service models
- Electronic health record vendors are consolidating as the industry matures and successful vendors seek to increase their market share through acquisition
- Insurers continue to grow (or at least try to grow ) to negotiate with larger health systems
These moves, naturally, pose significant challenges for health IT. How are IT departments supposed to keep up with the changes? …especially when innovation and IT gambles have traditionally been frowned upon by industry leaders who, for good reason, have been programmed to avoid risks at all costs.
Agility is not a term frequently associated with healthcare IT, but that is what is needed to keep up – and perhaps stay ahead – of the changing industry. One area healthcare organizations can find stability is by creating an interoperable data foundation.
While much attention has been placed on the Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform... system, the integration layer serves as the catalyst for all health data activities and allows IT departments to break free from EHR “data siloes” and gain full control of their patients’ health data. Because integrating systems is no longer an obstacle, a hospital can become nimble and responsive, with their IT systems offering a distinct competitive advantage.
With an “of course we can do that” attitude, health IT leaders can offer true answers to the challenges posed in our changing industry.
To read in-depth analysis on how an interoperable health data layer can offer strategic advantages and innovative solutions, download our latest White Paper, titled “Healthcare searches for IT stability to manage and implement change .”
Get the White Paper
Healthcare searches for IT stability to manage and implement changeDownload 
The paper covers:
- Meaningful Use uncertainty
- Hospital consolidation
- Health IT vendor consolidation
- Interoperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged.
- Strategic data frameworks