On The Issues

January 29th, 2014

Interoperability Leadership and Collaboration

Expansion, inclusion emerge as themes of Connectathon 2014

While always busy and always fruitful, there is a uniqueness emerging at this year’s IHE North American Connectathon around the themes of expansion and inclusion, necessary steps to be sure as interoperability advances on so many levels.

Unprecedented testing expansion this year includes applications still in the development phase, with invitations to collaborate on data exchange integrations ranging from,

• the standards harmonization initiative HIMSS Health Story Project,

• ONC’s Federated Healthcare Provider Directory,

• the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) Vital Records, and

• organizations on the consumer side of healthcare such as the Continua Health Alliance, which seeks standardization of mobile, remote and personal technology.

This approach also expands one of the great values of the Connectathons: the ability to not only test in real time but to uncover and address issues on the front end of data exchange that can save important R&D timelines.

IHE USA certification being widely offered is also a factor here, solidifying the use of protocols that can be confidently and efficiently applied to health IT applications and provider workflows, and Greenway is proud to be among the first wave of IHE certified solutions.

Taken together, what is also emerging is a growing refinement of our mindset on just what interoperability means. Not just jargon-heavy system to system data exchange but one of provider to provider, provider to patient, patient to device, and on to registries and HIEs. Think of interoperability with a human face.

And that’s just what payers, policymakers, certainly providers and more and more patient-consumers are expecting. As the Connectathons continue to be more inclusive, leaders in the standardization and harmonization of interoperability are best positioning care providers to navigate emerging payment and care delivery models increasingly built on care coordination through quality data exchange and reporting. That is the future of healthcare, and we’re seeing it literally develop this week in Chicago.

Justin Barnes is a vice president at Greenway Medical Technologies and a board member of IHE-USA.