Fridsma: ONC took 'inspiration' from Internet for Health IT

Electronic health records and the Affordable Care Act should be accessed like today's Internet and not like enterprise resource planning (ERP) or traditional IT systems, says the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT's Doug Fridsma in an InfoWorld interview

Fridsma (pictured right), who is chief science officer (CSO) and director of ONC's Office of Science and Technology, is spearheading federal efforts to make the HITECH requirements "happen" at a technical and medical level.

In a section of Gruman's interview with Fridsma titled "Health IT can't be like   ERP or AOL: Avoiding the path of least regret," the ONC CSO said the agency has taken inspiration from the Internet.

"What we're trying to do is the equivalent of what you've got in the Internet, which is horizontal integration rather than vertical integration," said Fridsma. "You create the ability to take a common transport mechanism--TCP/IP, whatever--and you create the mechanism that I can take my computer, and I can plug it into a wired network and I can unplug it and it will connect to the wireless network, and my application or email doesn't miss a beat, because there're layers of abstraction between those systems."

"Remember AOL?," asked Fridsma in the interview. "It was the easy way to get on the Internet but you could have everything but the Internet. Because it was interfaced and canned, a closed garden. We're really trying to get to the point of 'Let's not build AOL for health care. Let's build those fundamental building blocks that allow things that we could not have even imagined now to be able to be enabled.'"

In an interview at HIMSS with FierceHealthIT in 2012, Fridsma said he doesn't believe one-size-fits-all when it comes to healthcare communications efforts. Instead, just like in daily life, comfort is what's most important to each user.

To learn more:
- read the InfoWorld article

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