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Hospital Groups Publish Joint Report on Interoperability

A new report by America’s Essential Hospitals and six other national hospital associations highlights the importance of continued progress toward true interoperability of health information technology (IT).

The report defines interoperability in health care as the “capacity to send and receive a patient’s health information from multiple sources between different systems and locations with its integrity intact.” The report outlines six pathways, or key steps, to ensure health IT systems can seamlessly communicate:

  • security and privacy — ensuring that shared data is accurate and secure;
  • efficient, usable solutions — data must accurately match patient data and be presented in a usable format;
  • cost effective, enhanced infrastructure — infrastructure to connect information sharing networks must be secure, cost-effective, accessible, and updated over time;
  • standards that work — connected systems require improved and new standards used consistently to avoid data silos in proprietary systems;
  • connecting beyond electronic health records — information should be shared to support population health, address the social determinations of health, and facilitate remote monitoring and patient-generated data; and
  • shared best practices — encouraging the sharing of best practices among stakeholders.

The report also describes the benefits of interoperability, as well as progress health care providers have made in achieving interoperability. The report showcases the work of hospitals across the nation, including association member UMass Memorial Health Care, in Worchester, Mass., which partners with Reliant Medical Group to address social determinants of health using a web-based platform to connect community members to needed community organizations and providers.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.