In the world of healthcare IT, interoperability represents the possibility for multiple technologies to work together. In an official definition from 2013, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) established three different sub-categories of interoperability: foundational, structural and semantic, each of which pertains to a separate level of data exchange based on the systems involved.
Although it's a key concept for health IT improvements, recent survey data from Scrypt suggests that healthcare workers aren't enthusiastic about interoperability success in the near future. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) wants to achieve better data exchange rates by 2024, less than 20 percent of respondents from more than 700 providers, believe that this will happen.
However, this doesn't mean that improvements to interoperability are necessarily out of reach. At the HIMSS annual conference, Erica Galvez, Portfolio Manager of the ONC, referenced the organization's opinion of interoperability and the way it impacts stakeholders in a video interview.
To prepare for interoperability, practices should turn to healthcare IT consulting specialists that can review a practice's methods with an eye for meeting government standards.
"Interoperability, really, we need to think of as a means to many different ends, particularly delivery system reform," Galvez said. "Our efforts around enabling interoperability are focusing on helping the transitions that need to occur, again across our health IT ecosystem, care delivery being an important component of that, actually occur." Galvez also asserted that Meaningful Use was just one of the policy levers the ONC is using as part of its roadmap to interoperability.
One of the key barriers identified by the survey is a lack of access to electronic information, although 25 percent of the country's hospitals make use of some sort of electronic data exchange. To prepare for interoperability, practices should turn to healthcare IT consulting specialists that can review a practice's methods with an eye for meeting government standards.