Interoperability task force: Multi-stakeholder effort needed on ONC roadmap

To get to better interoperability, stakeholders in the healthcare industry--led by the government and the private sector--must convene and act on the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability roadmap, according to an interoperability task force.

To have the roadmap not just "be a book on the shelf," but be acted upon, the task force believes in education of the multiple stakeholders involved in interoperability, not just vendors and providers, Paul Tang, chairman of the Health IT Policy Committee's task force on clinical, technical, organizational and financial barriers to interoperability, said during an ONC Health IT Policy Committee meeting Wednesday.

The current pace of the industry is not moving quickly enough to support the delivery system reform from volume to value, Tang said. Because of that, a "complex and synchronous" multi-stakeholder effort is needed.

That includes the power of the federal government to convene those stakeholders, but the enduring private sector business interests to sustain the efforts, he said.

In addition, Tang said the task force recommends development and implementation of meaningful measures of health information exchange-sensitive outcomes for public reporting and payment. That would include funding development of "measures that matter," such as no reimbursement for medically unnecessary duplicate orders, Tang said.

He added that they need to create a palpable feeling that the incentives and the payment really are tied to HIE-sensitive activities--such as community health outcomes, coordination of healthcare and social services and having informed and engaged individuals and families.

While interoperability has been one of the key goals for ONC, particularly over the past year, not all providers are confident the 10-year goal will be met. Less than 20 percent of more than 760 healthcare professionals who responded to a recent survey say they are "very confident" interoperability will be achieved in the next decade.

To learn more:
- check out the meeting materials
- listen to the meeting