Improving EHR Interoperability Is a National Priority: HHS

Interoperability necessary to achieve the benefits of EHR infrastructure adoption

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems is a national priority of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, according to an article published March 4 in Medical Economics.

The article states that, at the Health Information Management Systems Society 2014 conference in Orlando, Fla., Karen DeSalvo, M.D., M.P.H., the newly appointed National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, called on health information professionals to work collaboratively to build a truly interoperable EHR system. Such a system is necessary to improve care, better the experience for patients, and reduce costs.

While adoption of EHR systems has been widespread, systems' scale, interface, and interoperability are all still in need of work. According to the article, DeSalvo says that the captured data remains in silos. Data needs to be more free, yet secure, in order to make users' experience better and to make transmission more seamless. If the right policy standards and regulations are in place, national interoperability can be achieved in a way that truly benefits patient safety and care quality, while recognizing better value in health care delivery.

"We have made impressive progress on our infrastructure, but we have not reached our shared vision of having this interoperable system where data can be exchanged and meaningfully used to improve care," DeSalvo said at the conference, according to the Medical Economics article.

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