Andy Slavitt: Interoperability not like 'sending a man to the moon'

Interoperability in healthcare is not as big a feat as sending a man to the moon, says Andy Slavitt, and technology should be able to do the things "that it already does for us every day."

Slavitt, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' acting administrator, says bad business practices are one impediment to interoperability, according to a recent interview with the Massachusetts Medical Society.

However, he says, technology "will improve through the better use of standards and compliance." Application programming interfaces also will help spur innovation, says Slavitt, who notes the importance of the Health and Human Services Department's data sharing pledge.

Slavitt says that while CMS has "very few higher priorities" than interoperability, everyone needs to put pressure on technology vendors to make systems and tools work and connect.

"If you are a customer of a piece of technology that doesn't do what you want, it's time to raise your voice," he says.

Slavitt also recently has been pushing for investments in Medicaid IT. This week he made a trip to Silicon Valley to participate with state governments and tech companies to see how IT can improve care delivery.

To learn more:
- here's the interview