6 Reasons To Plan Architecture For Interoperability

John Loonsk | Government Health IT | September 23, 2014

Nearly $26 billion spent, and the U.S. healthcare industry is still asking why information doesn’t move more easily between electronic health records.  That’s a loaded question, of course, and suggesting a ten-year timeframe or arguing that there is progress if you look hard enough just doesn’t answer it. Congress does not think so either. Despite the HITECH funds’ accomplishing a significant degree of EHR adoption there is still a large amount to do to achieve modest interoperability. And the question posed above is going to politically fester until something significant is done.

Part of the interoperability problem is that only a limited amount of the HITECH Meaningful Use leverage has been used to encourage data exchange. Interoperability took a back seat to adoption of EHRs and other things in Meaningful Use plans.

But another part of the problem is that there is no real technical plan. From a health IT perspective, the kind of “plan” that is needed would describe high-level functional needs, identify important technical elements, and show how they all fit together. It would be an architectural blueprint to guide technology in the very complex, loosely-coupled system that is the health sector. And it would strategically articulate critical, but limited, pieces of the national health IT infrastructure...