According to HIMSS, “Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data.” Until now, discussion of interoperability in healthcare has centered on systems within a facility or across multiple facilities within a network, with major electronic health record (EHR) vendors Cerner and Epic competing for the business.
A positive and welcome change was recently covered by Kristin Lee at TechTarget. Lee reported that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) challenged Epic and Cerner to work together on an initiative with third party mobile health applications to take interoperability outside the facility. The purpose of the initiative was to help patients access their medical information, which is increasingly in demand as patients seek to be more informed.
One beneficiary of this new integration was Boston-based Medisafe—a company that helps patients improve their medication therapy adherence. Others included RxREVU™, which helps locate available drugs based on cost, clinical research and condition, and CareEvolution, an interoperability and data integration platform.
Enabling a patient to access information regarding their care can lead to more productive clinical discussions with physicians and pharmacists. Patients, especially those living with chronic conditions, have information overload. Having all of a patient’s medical information in one place that can be easily retrieved can reduce the burden on both patients and their caregivers.
CIOs who provided their thoughts regarding the collaboration were hopeful that true interoperability is in our future. Although it’s expected to take some time, the initiative is viewed as a step in the right direction.