In Health Affairs, the former and current ONCOffice of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) – Located within the Of... More coordinator for health IT, Karen DeSalvo and Vindell Washington, provide a state of the industry report that offers some encouraging signs that healthcare is beginning to reap the rewards of moving away from paper-based processes.

Some of the key stats cited include:

  • 96% of all hospitals use certified EHRs
  • 84% of all academic studies show that EHRs have a positive, or mixed-positive, impact on quality, safety, and efficiency of care
  • 78% of all physicians use certified EHRs

However, DeSalvo and Washington write that these positive signs are only steps in a long process that will result in a learning, person-centered health system. And, as readers of this blog can attest, they say that data interoperabilityInteroperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information ... More is a vital component to transforming care using technology, as they envision.

According to DeSalvo and Washington, interoperabilityInteroperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information ... More will be advanced through the following 3 goals:

  1. The use of common, federally recognized, national standards;
  2. Changing the culture around access to information — including combating data blocking; and,
  3. Building the business case for interoperabilityInteroperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information ... More.

To achieve these goals, the Administration is leveraging impactful tools: delivery system reforms that drive a business case for interoperabilityInteroperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information ... More; new guidance on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAAThe Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in ... More) to make providers and individuals aware of patients’ rights to access and transmit their data; and requiring publishing application programming interfaces (APIs) to enhance the connectivity between EHRs and provider and consumer applications.

 

Collaboration with states and the private sector is vital to this work. We have been working diligently with stakeholders, who we invited to sign a pledge indicating their commitment to advancing toward an interoperable community of health. The pledge covered three key commitments: help consumers easily and securely access their electronic health information, direct it to any desired location, learn how their information can be shared and used, and be assured that this information will be effectively and safely used to benefit their health and that of their community; securely and appropriately share individuals’ health information whenever permitted by law and not knowingly or unreasonably block the flow of electronic health information; and adopt federally recognized, national interoperabilityInteroperability refers to the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information ... More standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information, including those related to privacy and security.

Read the full article at: healthaffairs.org

 

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