Tag Archives: Interoperability

Do We Really Want Total Interoperability? Let’s Be Honest….

Just when I started getting excited about FHIR and it’s prospects for fostering (dare I shall say) true interoperability within health IT, we should recall whether the private sector really wants this.  The question is whether we have the will to give up something (for instance making capital investments to change existing coding and systems architecture) for the common good (the disparate parts of healthcare being able to seamlessly exchange information).

After reading this article, “at the risk of quelling the FHIR party it’s time for a reality check on the fledgling interoperability standard, if only because what’s happening now will, in hindsight, likely be the fun part.

One need look no further than those now-ubiquitous XML and associated standards, however, to understand some of the growing pains on the road ahead.

At one point in time, the old guard of enterprise IT vendors — IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Oracle to name the big guns — came together with a number of specialty shops via standards bodies to craft those web services specs.

But then each vendor would take that work back to its headquarters and essentially bend the specification as far as they could toward their own will. Did the initial version of Microsoft’s integration server seamlessly access information in an Oracle database or SAP’s applications? Not so perfectly. What’s more, Forrester, Gartner or IDC analysts were saying at the time that these companies, Microsoft specifically, weren’t necessarily all that interested in interoperating with the so-called competition.

“I would suspect this will replay itself in healthcare,” said Steven Waldren, MD, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Center for Health IT. “Layer on the confounding factors such as the multiple purpose of health records, ambiguity and uncertainty in the data, complexity of health information, misaligned business drivers, and it is going to be a rocky 2017-2020.”

Board of Directors Announced for Privately Funded Center for Medical Interoperability

The Center for Medical Interoperability recently announced their board of directors.  It includes names from several large and well established healthcare organizations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Johns Hopkins, and Cedars-Sinai Health System.  Per the press release,“It is vital that all forms of healthcare technology, including medical devices and electronic health records, be able to seamlessly exchange information so that the quality and safety of care can be improved and costs can be reduced.”

Is this a sign or things to come where private organizations try to find their own solutions to the continuing struggles w/healthcare interoperability?

Senators Have Harsh Words for ONC and Interoperability Roadmap

A group of 5 republican senators have criticized the ONC and their draft of the interoperability roadmap for HIT.  (Public comments are open through April 3, 2015).  They specifically have called out the lack of interoperability as a key issue and is indicative of the lack of effort to show for this stimulus effort.

My reaction is after having worked on an ICD-10 implementation since 2010 and seeing how difficult it is to get such disparate and numerous entities in healthcare to comply in a mandatory compliance scenario, I am not surprised that it is taking longer than these lawmakers deem is necessary.

What are your thoughts?  Do you agree w/the senators or do you think they’re out of line?