Interoperability: Can It Really Happen In 10 Years?

Mike Miliard | Government Health IT | December 16, 2014

With electronic health records now in place among hospitals and medical practices, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT embraced its new mandate in 2014: getting them to talk to each other.  Toward that end, it shuffled its organizational structure, began work laying out a 10-year roadmap for true, nationwide interoperability and started soliciting advice and feedback from reports put out by other federal entities, notably JASON.  In September, ONC’s HIT Policy Committee established a JASON Report Task Force, co-chaired by Cerner Senior Vice President of Medical Informatics David McCallie and Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative CEO Micky Tripathi.

The task force is charged with digesting the report, "A Robust Health Data Infrastructure," prepared for AHRQ by the MITRE Corporation's JASON advisory group, and making suggestions to ONC about what to do with its findings.  The JASON report contends that "the current lack of interoperability among the data resources for EHRs is a major impediment to the effective exchange of health information."  But Tripathi and McCallie argued that JASON "seriously underestimates the progress made in interoperability" – even while they agreed that "there is considerable room for improvement."

Since the report was launched in early 2013, a lot of strides were made, they argued, "such as market deployment of Direct-enabled functions, and beginning of MU2 attestations using C-CDA"  To that point, they argued, "ONC should take into account the current state of interoperability as well as current trends before incorporating JASON findings in any decisions on HIE plans, policies and programs."...