Can The Feds Make Health IT Systems Talk To Each Other?

Kenneth Corbin | CIO | February 7, 2014

Government officials are reluctant to issue mandates on standards and interoperability for health IT devices and applications -- but advocates say that's exactly what healthcare needs to promote innovation and improve patient care.

Virtually everyone who believes that electronic medical records and networked devices can improve healthcare quality and lower costs acknowledges that those technologies will never reach their full potential unless they achieve some level of standardization and interoperability.

But what's the government's role, if any, in trying to harmonize the health IT space?

That question was front and center in Washington yesterday, when officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said they're working to find an appropriate balance between hardline regulation and allowing a young, fast-moving market to develop without any intervention.