eHealth Initiative roadmap calls for alignment of HIT regulatory efforts

Interoperability and Meaningful Use efforts need to be aligned with other healthcare regulatory and industry initiatives, according to the eHealth Initiative, which on Thursday unveiled its 2020 roadmap for transforming health IT.

The roadmap, which eHealth Initiative CEO Jennfier Covich Bordenick calls "a framework for discussion about core technology issues," includes priorities for three areas: business and clinical motivators, interoperability and data access and use. In particular, she says, the private sector's role must grow in order for health IT to move forward.

"We are heading into a world where healthcare data needs to be exchanged, shared and analyzed, not simply pushed from place to place," Bordenick says in the document. "Similarly, we are developing a 2020 roadmap that requires sharing, analysis and above all, collaboration."

Compared to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's interoperability roadmap, which will be available for public comment in January, the eHealth Initiative calls its plan "much broader," but acknowledges that there is overlap between the two efforts to ensure synchronicity.

The roadmap specifically calls for an extension of time between Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use program, and also says that compliance with ICD-10 by next October is mandatory. The adoption of standards and open architecture also is encouraged for interoperability to evolve, as is the adoption of "approaches reflecting cross-industry IT trends" such as REST and FHIR.

Additionally, the roadmap says that Meaningful Use, despite its importance, is not a "sufficient lever" to ensure interoperability throughout healthcare.

A survey published in September from Premier and the eHealth Initiative concluded that poor interoperability is a significant barrier for accountable care organization success.

"We envision a high-performing healthcare system centered around the patient, where all those engaged in patient care are linked together in a secure and interoperable environment," the roadmap says.

The roadmap also looks to kick-start conversations about how to solve several privacy and security challenges in healthcare today, including data security, appropriate data sharing, granular data control, data provenance and data matching.

To learn more:
- read the roadmap (.pdf)

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