Interoperability across various settings focus of UCSF, Cisco partnership

The University of California San Francisco and Cisco have teamed up to create a platform to enable data-sharing from multiple sources among health systems, providers and application vendors.

The plan is to set up a collaborative center at UCSF's Mission Bay campus, where members of both organizations, as well as industry partners, will test and scale the interoperability platform across different devices, IT systems and software, according to an announcement.

The platform also will enable providers to incorporate information from outside the clinical system, such as from personal health apps, wearable sensors, consumer devices and home monitors, which can be used along with clinical data to improve care. The plan calls for initial pilots at UCSF Medical Center with further expansion to other affiliated entities within UCSF Health.

"Fragmentation of information is one of the most challenging impediments in healthcare today," Michael Blum, M.D., UCSF associate vice chancellor for Informatics and director of the UCSF Center for Digital Health Innovation, says in the announcement. "[I]n this age of apps, social media, and mobile communications, this status quo is completely unacceptable to both patients and providers. We plan to change all of that with this partnership."

Healthcare partnerships between universities and technology companies are becoming a common occurrence, especially when it comes to efforts to improve interoperability. Earlier this week, Johns Hopkins and Microsoft announced they are developing a health IT system that can better help medical devices communicate.

The IT solution "will bring interoperability to ... medical devices," Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president of patient safety and quality for Johns Hopkins Medicine, said in an announcement.  

Interoperability has been the buzzword of 2015 in healthcare, especially with the release of the Office of the National Coordinator's final interoperability roadmap. In addition, even providers-to-be are aware of the importance of seamless data sharing in the industry. In a survey of more 1,000 medical students, athenahealth Inc. found that 96 percent feel improved interoperability is critical in healthcare. 

To learn more:
- here's the announcement