5 elements to achieving health IT interoperability

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has released what it calls a path to achieving interoperability among different electronic health record (EHR) systems.

In a blog post Wednesday, David Muntz (pictured), principal deputy and Nora Super, public affairs director, outline five elements critical to achieving health IT interoperability. They are:

  1. Adoption and optimization of EHRs and health information exchange (HIE) services

  2. Standards to support implementation and certification

  3. Financial and clinical incentives

  4. Privacy and security

  5. Rules of engagement or governance

Adoption and optimization of EHRs and HIEs will allow information to be exchanged and used simultaneously and multiple locations, Muntz and Super write. For HIEs, development of exchange services based on national standards will ease the exchange among different organizations with disparate health IT systems, they say.

ONC has several efforts underway to accelerate adoption and use of interoperability standards, according to the post. Those include convening standards implementers through the standards and interoperability framework and certifying health IT systems against consensus standards.

The framework for defining and implementing good governance includes trust, business, technical and organizational principles, according to the post.

ONC also has developed a whiteboard animation to explain how HHS is trying to achieve health IT interoperability, the two note.

Earlier this year the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) reported in a white paper that "plug and play" capability would soon provide a breakthrough in interoperability. The breakthrough would facilitate the movement of care summaries within clinical workflows, and the ability to find patient records in other providers' EHRs, according to the white paper.

For more information:
- here's the blog post
- check out the whiteboard animation
- read the CCHIT white paper

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