It was quite day for interoperability Monday, as dozens of healthcare IT giants took a giant step to improve the exchange of data and make closer to the goal of connectivity.
According to comments given by HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell during the opening keynote address at the HIMSS conference, the companies that provide 90 percent of EHRs used nationwide, along with the top five largest healthcare systems in the country, have agreed to implement three core principles:
- Consumer Access: To 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.
- No Data Blocking: To help providers share individuals’ health information for care with other providers and their patients whenever permitted by law, and not block electronic health information (defined as knowingly and unreasonably interfering with information sharing).
- Standards: Implement federally recognized, national interoperability standards, policies, guidance, and practices for electronic health information, and adopt best practices including those related to privacy and security.
Among the organizations to agree to the terms was CHIME, which recently inked a deal with OpenNotes to expand patient access to the notes that clinicians make in a health record, but that often are not available to the patient. CHIME is also working with government and other industry stakeholders to pursue the adoption of clear standards, and is looking to address information sharing through its National Patient ID Challenge.
“While we’ve made considerable progress digitizing the industry, we must overcome some significant barriers that impede information sharing and prevent us from realizing the full benefits of health IT,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell in a statement. “Through this pledge, CHIME and its members strengthen their resolve to transform the nation’s delivery system and improve patient care.”
Of course, facilitating interoperability is going to come with challenges, said Don Reichert, VP & CIO at The MetroHealth System, during the HIMSS16 Annual Media Breakfast Tuesday morning.
“It’s a win-win to be able to take better care of patients, but I worry about physician practices that aren’t tied to big health systems,” he said. Still, “we need to continue to push” for data sharing.
Thomas Selva, MD, CMIO at MU Health Care concurred, adding that “ultimately it’s the patient’s data, but how that trickles down to the state level remains to be seen.” Both Reichert and Selva served as panelists at the breakfast, where the results of the HIMSS Leadership Survey were discussed.
The organizations that have committed to the pledge include hospitals, integrated health care organizations, medical groups and physician offices, academic facilities, long-term and behavioral health care settings, professional and advocacy organizations and patients throughout the country, and include:
- GE Healthcare
- Greenway Health
- Ascension Health
- Carolinas Healthcare
- Catholic Health Initiatives
- Community Health Systems
- Dignity Health
- Geisinger Health System
- Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)
- Intermountain Healthcare
- John Hopkins Medicine
- Kaiser Permanente
- Lifepoint Health
- Mountain States Health Alliance
- Partners Healthcare
- Tenet Healthcare
- Trinity Health
- University of Utah
Provider, Technology, and Consumer Organizations
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American College of Physicians
- American Medical Association
- American Medical Informatics Association
- American Hospital Association
- American Health Information Management Association
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Center for Medical Interoperability
- Healthcare Leadership Council
- National Partnership for Women and Families
- National Rural Health Association
- Premier healthcare alliance
- Sequoia Project