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FAH, AHA Leaders Outline Steps to Interoperability in Modern Healthcare

FAH CEO and President Chip Kahn and AHA CEO and President Rick Pollack wrote a joint op-ed in the most recent edition of Modern Healthcare discussing the importance of interoperability to the health care system and the six pathways to achieve full interoperability.

The op-ed, entitled “Providers have made strides on interoperability; let's add urgency to finally cross the finish line,” details the current state of interoperability and the progress that has been made in recent years toward achieving full, secure transferring of health information between patients, families, and providers.

This builds upon a report released last month by FAH, AHA and several other national hospital associations.

Kahn and Pollack explain that despite “commendable progress, our system of sharing, securing and transferring complete patient health data is still limited in many cases by differing vendor platforms, geographic region, inconsistent use of standards and other factors.”

The FAH and AHA leaders recommend six pathways to advance a system that works for everyone:

Security and privacy. Stakeholders must be able to trust that shared data is accurate, secure and used in accordance with best practices and patient expectations.
Efficient, usable solutions. Data must be available where and when it is needed and in a useful format.
Enhanced infrastructure. The infrastructure to connect information-sharing networks will require consistent use of standards, semantics and a common set of “rules of the road” for exchange.
Standards that work. Connected systems require standards implemented to minimize proprietary solutions and gatekeeping.
Beyond EHRs. Interoperable systems must expand to include population health, the social determinants of health and patient-generated data.
Best practices. All stakeholders should exchange best practices so we can continue to build on what works.

Full interoperability will benefit patients, families, and the entire health care system, meaning improved quality, safety, and efficiency. Tremendous progress has been made thus far, but Kahn and Pollack leave readers with a call to action: “we’ve come far and the finish line is in sight. Let’s cross over it.”