West Health CEO touts necessity of open, interoperable health system

In the healthcare industry, the shift from a closed system to an open and interoperable system is necessary, according to Nick Valeriani, chief executive at West Health and CEO of the Gary and Mary West Health Institute in La Jolla, California. 

"I truly believe that an interoperable healthcare system will result in enhanced patient safety and improved clinical outcomes at a lower cost," Valeriani writes at MedCity News.

Obstacles to having all systems and devices in the industry communicate with each other remain--most notably because of the outdate notion that proprietary systems provide a competitive advantage, according to Valeriani.

But as the healthcare industry turns its focus from volume to value, medical device companies specifically will need to "adapt to the changing landscape" by making their systems interoperable, he writes.

Valeriani has been touting the importance of medical device interoperabilty for more than a year. 

Companies will need to think holistically about improving patient outcomes, reducing hospital admissions and adding value to the ecosystem already in place, he writes..

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has made moves to create a path for smoother medical device interoperability. In June, the agency released draft guidance lowering the burden on developers of medical device data systems to comply with agency requirements.

Valeriani also said that with National Health Information Technology week coming to an end, everyone must work together to create a connected and coordinated healthcare system.

"Let's dare to imagine what life would be like if our healthcare system provided the same integrated 24-hour service as the banking, retail and cellular industries," he writes. "Let's use the same technology that tracks our digital footprint to improve health."

Interoperability is ONC's top priority, according to the National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo, speaking at this week's consumer health summit.

To learn more:
- read the MedCity News commentary

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