In a recent article appearing in Health Management Technology, Cerner Senior Director of Interoperability, Kashif Rathore discussed several key topics within the current state of interoperability and its future outlook. What follows are sections from Kashif's recent article.
Health information must be shareable and accessible among all individuals involved in the care setting: primary care physicians, specialists, hospital physicians, and patients. I believe interoperability is the ability for information used to advance patient care to move between healthcare entities, regardless of the technological platform in place.
Current State of Interoperability
Interoperable functionality is now an expectation among stakeholders in the healthcare industry, although it is currently not a universal reality. One of the major building blocks currently in place to move toward seamless interoperability is the health information exchange (HIE), a way for hospitals to empower one another by providing access to patient data across the continuum.
Rocky Mountain Care, a home care, hospice, and skilled nursing facility company based in Salt Lake City and operates in five states, recently invested in advanced health IT solutions to improve connection within its organization's facilities and beyond.
Vision for the Future
The market is expected to demand continued innovation in approaches, solutions, and services to meet evolving interoperability requirements. Interoperability is key to supporting the continuum of care, improving population health, and enhancing information access to providers and patients. There are many public and private initiatives actively working to enhance data sharing among providers.
To achieve true interoperability on a national level, Cerner collaborated with other health IT companies to establish CommonWell Health Alliance, a not-for-profit trade association with the vision that health data should be available to individuals and providers regardless of where care occurs. CommonWell members are committed to building interoperability into their software, so that providers can maximize a trusted network for data exchange while maintaining their existing workflows. Cerner uses the services provided by CommonWell Health Alliance to allow clients to exchange relevant clinical information with other providers that use CommonWell services.
Patient-centric interoperability ensures the right people have access to the right data at the right time. Cerner has a vision that interoperability should not be a competitive advantage; instead, sharing patient information should be a foundational capability of a health IT system that enables providers to improve healthcare across the world, regardless of what vendor or provider is included in the continuum of care.
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