DeSalvo: America 'Waiting For Us To Get Interoperability Right'

Tom Sullivan, | Government Health IT | September 3, 2014

Calling it a “changing of the horizon,” national coordinator Karen DeSalvo, MD, said that her office is working to refresh the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  “It’s an opportunity to look at HIT beyond the EHR and policy levers beyond meaningful use,” DeSalvo said of the forthcoming plan.  The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, in fact, has been reshaping itself for the future and is currently working on its strategic plan alongside a 10-year roadmap for interoperability — and that is against the backdrop of health IT reports put out by other federal entities, notably JASON and PCAST.

Documents from JASON, conducted by independent scientists at The MITRE Group advising the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) delve into health infrastructure and information exchange, essentially pointing to what needs to be done.  ONC’s HIT Policy Committee established a JASON Report Task Force and on Wednesday, co-chair Micky Tripathi suggested, among other things, that ONC cross-reference both PCAST and its own ONC Interoperability Roadmap when deciding how to move forward.

“Interoperability doesn't just happen,” said Tripathi, who is also CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative. “It gets done for very specific use cases as we’ve seen.”  Indeed, interoperability is such a complex and weighty matter that DeSalvo said that ONC is charting a distinct course toward that end...