10 October 2012

Elaine Remmlinger will moderate a panel discussion with three distinguished provider organizations—a national cancer center, a community health system and a children’s hospital— each endeavoring to meet the challenges of interoperability within their organization and with the broader provider community.

Despite relatively high levels of Meaningful Use achievement, interoperability remains a significant challenge for health care organizations. The challenges are most acute for enterprises with a mixed or best-of-breed computing environment. However, even for those entities with a unitary EHR solution, interoperability with the broader health care provider community is a significant challenge. There is widespread agreement that interoperability is essential to regional clinical integration, population health management and delivering cost-effective, quality care.

The need for healthcare organizations to make material progress on interoperability is further heightened by the focus on interoperability in the EHR Incentive Stage 2 proposed regulation. The proposed rule requires (if adopted as written) providers to move beyond the mere testing of health information exchange to actual ongoing use of health information exchange.

Especially as the industry attempts to move beyond the exchange of fairly standardized information, such as laboratory results or medication list, the complexities increase. The need to confront semantic interoperability, vocabulary normalization, and mapping between EHRs must also be addressed to fully leverage the health data exchanged.