achieving interoperability

Achieving interoperability for value-based care

by Michael Campana

Meaningful Use may be a thing of the past, but interoperability is likely here to stay. 

You’re probably aware by now that Meaningful Use as we know it is undergoing a transition. During a speech1 at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Andy Slavitt, confirmed that significant changes are in store for Meaningful Use.

Following Slavitt’s speech, Russell Branzell, President and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) called on federal regulators to “better align clinical quality measures and to adopt enforceable standards for interoperability.” Branzell also stressed the need for a laser-like focus on interoperability to improve health information exchange across the continuum of care.

"[Federal regulators should] adopt enforceable standards for interoperability.”

Russell Branzell President and CEO ​College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) 

What does this mean for healthcare leaders?

The announcements signal the importance of healthcare’s continued focus on achieving interoperability. Clear and enforceable standards, in addition to improved alignment of clinical quality measures, are necessities likely to support your healthcare organization’s ability to achieve full interoperability and provide quality care.

It seems that there is no lack of electronic health record (EHR) systems, and now we are seeing the promising development of personal health records to get patients more fully engaged in their care. Nevertheless, disparate systems continue to be a challenge. The inability of systems to easily and securely share health information with each other is possibly the next great hurdle in getting closer to achieving interoperability.

So while we wait to see what the next steps for Meaningful Use will be, it is time to ask what you can do starting now to improve interoperability at your healthcare organization.
Improving interoperability can start with these four steps:

1. Assess where your organization’s own information originates, where it goes and how well it moves throughout your current infrastructure.

2. Identify obstacles to information flow — these will reveal opportunities to integrate your EHR and other systems for better capturing, managing and transforming of data for improved patient care.

3. Evaluate each tool’s ability to support organizational goals well into the future, including its capability to work seamlessly with other technologies, when making technology upgrades or purchases.

4. Partner with organizations that are experienced in finding ways to achieve interoperability goals. The right ones can go a long way toward smoothing the process and setting your organization up for long-term clinical and business success.

Learn five ways to improve information flow for value-based care

Keep your organization on the path toward success by taking proactive steps towards interoperability. 
None of us know exactly what the next chapter will be for Meaningful Use, but it’s clear that striving to make communication and information flow seamlessly will be a key focus.
Michael Campana
Michael Campana joined Ricoh in 2012 as Senior Manager of Healthcare Marketing. He brings 27 years of experience to the role to lead the market positioning and strategy for Ricoh’s healthcare industry vertical in the Americas. Campana began his career in the healthcare industry upon graduating from the University of South Florida. He has worked for a number of healthcare organizations, including most recently Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services.
1 Statement on the Future of the Meaningful Use Program. College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). January 12, 2016. 
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