Achieving true healthcare interoperability across the care continuum is a top priority for providers, payers, and other key industry stakeholders.
Seamless, comprehensive data sharing is particularly important for healthcare organizations looking to earn incentive payments through the CMS Promoting Interoperability (PI) Program, formerly known as meaningful use.
The adoption and use of health data standards forms the basis for enabling interoperability across organizations and between EHR systems.
According to ONC, “standards are agreed-upon methods for connecting systems together. Standards may pertain to security, data transport, data format or structure, or the meanings of codes or terms.”
In the healthcare industry, several different standards development organizations (SDOs) create, define, update, and maintain health data standards through collaborative processes that involve health IT users.
While SDOs have created several well-known standards intended to promote interoperability, lack of widespread adoption and use lessen the effectiveness of existing standards. In addition, differences in the way developers implement data standards can slow progress toward achieving healthcare interoperability.
Why is interoperability such a complex challenge for vendors and healthcare organizations, and how can health data standards help achieve the goals of a connected care ecosystem?