Meaningful Use is Table Stakes, EHR = Interoperability

In my previous post, I said interoperability and document sharing is what was new at HIMSS 2013. Interoperability isn’t a new concept. (In fact, many people use it as the defining difference between an “EMR” and an “EHR,” but let’s not split hairs anymore.) We are all are asking great questions about interoperability and what it means. Given what we do here at NYeC, my antennae are always up looking for someone saying “interoperability” or “collaboration,” so I had to make sure I wasn’t hearing what I wanted to hear at HIMSS: was interoperability really the “in” thing? So, I polled others. As I spoke to vendors and providers, I asked, “What’s the buzz this year?” Almost everyone said some variant of interoperability.

Interoperability is not the future, it’s the present. I agree with some commentators in that we need to talk more about how EHRs and other systems use the records that will be shared with them. But, let’s not fool ourselves. Just moving the data around is difficult. We have to develop and use new technical standards, build new infrastructures, work through workflow barriers and tackle governance.

Let’s look to the future and collectively work out tomorrow’s best practices while recognizing we stand on the shoulders of giants. I eagerly await advanced intelligent clinical decision support tools and CPOE modules that can access data from community health information exchanges and help providers make more informed decisions. Please join me in challenging the next generations of EHRs to make interoperability meaningful, I think the vendors are up for it. For now, I’ll take the win for the valuable dialog and a recent, measurable increase in health data liquidity through record exchange. It’s an exciting time. Buckle up.

Read my previous post: Nothing New at HIMSS?