The surge in telehealth use amid the pandemic has shown that interoperability is one of the biggest challenges to deliver high-quality healthcare. Healthcare professionals need interoperable patient data to deliver targeted care and communication between providers is critical for patient data exchange.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) defines interoperability as “the ability of different information systems, devices and applications (‘systems’) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner, within and across organizational, regional and national boundaries, to provide timely and seamless portability of information and optimize the health of individuals and populations globally.”
The U.S. Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT has just announced the launch of its new project “Health Interoperability Outcomes 2030”. The goal is to analyze current interoperability efforts and to create longer-term strategies that align with the 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan and ONC’s vision for the healthcare industry.
ONC has deeply impacted the healthcare sector with policies like the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016 that led to regulations around information blocking and interoperability that took effect this April and gives patients full access to their health data.
A recent poll found out that many healthcare industry stakeholders are still confused about federal information blocking rules. ONC’s new project will help coordinate and target their efforts.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed modifications to the Promoting Interoperability Program. As part of CMS’ proposed rules this April around Medicare fee-for-service payment rates and policies for hospitals and long-term facilities there are several provisions regarding technology, data exchange, and patient access. The main goal is to broaden requirements focused on public health and clinical information exchange.
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of easily accessible data to address public health crises. A lot of progress has been made in healthcare with improving data interoperability, but there’s still work to do to transform patient health and to ensure seamless interoperability between all parties.
It is time to advance to the next level of health IT. Enhancing the interoperability of health data is critical in shaping the future of healthcare. Improving exchange and interoperability will lead to more efficiency, less costs, and better patient care.
If you have questions about the two rules around interoperability and information blocking, let us know.