Rhapsody Health Solutions Team

ONC tells Congress: Interoperability must be a priority

Interoperable data platform

From Healthcare IT News:

With nearly all of hospitals (96 percent) and 78 percent of physician offices now using certified electronic health record technology, it’s no longer enough to merely adopt these tools, according to ONC. The healthcare industry needs to fully utilize the EHR and other health IT tools to improve patient care and outcomes.

“The impact of the dramatic increase in health IT adoption since passage of the HITECH Act goes beyond digitizing paper health records,” the authors wrote. “The rapid adoption of health IT has facilitated increased use of functionalities that have real-world clinical impacts.”

To increase interoperability, ONC is focusing on three priorities:

  • The creation and promotion of common standards for seamless data exchange, especially through the use of open application programming interfaces.
  • An overhaul of delivery systems to improve interoperability and the way CMS pays for care to reward quality.
  • A culture change with regard to access to information, helping combat data blocking, educating individuals on their rights to access information and reminding providers they’re legally allowed to exchange healthcare information when it comes to treatment.

Read the full article at:

It looks like we get to transition from the presidential campaign trail, back to the ONC’s campaign to put health data interoperability at the top of everyone’s mind.
Let’s hope providers follow the ONC’s — and Corepoint Health customers’ — lead in giving interoperability the attention it truly deserves.

We have a long way to go. Consider:

  • 1 in 3 patients must provide their own health information when seeking health care.
  • Most states have different laws that make it difficult to share health data across state lines, and
  • Only 51% of hospitals can electronically search for critical health info from outside sources.

The good news, however, is the technology is in place to fill in a majority of the interoperability gaps between providers. How long will it take and what will truly motivate the laggards are some of the questions that need to be examined.

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