Why Making the Case for Interoperability Standards Is Needed

Jeff Byers | Healthcare DIVE | March 14, 2017

As hospitals plug into more networks with partnerships, mergers and new consumer health devices, interoperability is needed more than ever.

It's buzzy. It's the fly in the ointment for many and vendors swear it's seriously. just. about. to. gain. traction. Interoperability. Thinking about the topic is daunting itself but for those on the frontlines of care delivery and for patients, its increasingly becoming necessary as the healthcare industry enters into a more networked era. When we last checked in on interoperability, the industry was touting the massive adoption of EHRs. 

Industry thought leaders such as former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Vindell Washington noted that once adoption hits a tipping point then data sharing can actually occur. That data sharing is more important than ever as more data points and companies are attempting to enter the space, creating more health data than the industry may know what to do with. While legacy EHR vendors have historically been accused of information hoarding, recent industry developments have signaled the year 2017 may make significant gains in working toward actual data sharing, integration among vendors, providers.

Access to healthcare services is changing in the digital age. From alternative care settings to telehealth companies, supply and demand for healthcare services is in flux. As athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush recently told Healthcare Dive, before such events hospitals had control over the supply of healthcare services and as more supply becomes available to patients, it's important for caregivers to connect to patients...