Interoperability Isn’t Just a Matter of Sharing Data

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has been called on to rethink interoperability. Rather than just a gauge of data sharing, The American Medical Association (AMA) and other medical groups would like to see interoperability be a measure of the usefulness, timeliness, correctness and completeness of that data.

AMA President, Steven Stack, recently stated, “Vendors have been incentivized to meet the flawed benchmarks under the Meaningful Use program. We need to replace those benchmarks with ones that focus on better coordinated care. MACRA offers that opportunity and we need to take advantage of it.” He feels that the current measures should be done away with and new measures set under MACRA. The American Hospital Association (AHA) agrees stating that they would like to see expansion of the scope of measurement which would include standards to make sure technology and necessary infrastructure are in place. On July 1st, and as part of MACRA, The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to provide reporting regarding metrics for EHR adoption.

Back in February, the ONC released the 2016 Interoperability Standards. The standards and implementation specifications that were listed focused explicitly on clinical health IT systems’ interoperability. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) also focuses on the technology behind the data exchange which is at the core of interoperability.  But as more doctors and organizations weigh in, it is clear they would like to see a practice that produces metrics that enhance the wellness of patients, and not focus on just data sharing.

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