Taking Stock: Interoperability and National Health IT Week

Jeff Smith | Medium | October 6, 2017

During a two-hour panel discussion hosted by ONC this week, yours truly provided views on the current state of interoperability. In celebration of National Health IT Week, panelists were asked to provide their thoughts on the biggest advancements made in interoperability, ways that government and industry should work together, and concerns about future challenges.

While it may sound trite at this point, I noted how making healthcare data digital and computable is a prerequisite for interoperability and that the progress we’ve made as a nation to coalesce around nationwide standards for content, meaning, and transport cannot be overstated. No industry in any part of the world has gone through comparable change, and it’s important to take stock in this imperfect transition.

I also said that standards development was shifting from a spectator’s sport to a contact sport. Implementers are building and testing standards like FHIR as they are developing the standard, and this is an important trend. FHIR is also written in a way that helps implementers do their jobs more easily, using languages like JSON and XML that people understand...