CAPP Calls for Interoperable Health Information Technology Systems

“Implementing Health System Improvement Primer” Recommends Connecting Patients’ Electronic Health Records for Better Patient Safety and Health Care Outcomes.

Although 2009’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act resulted in the widespread adoption of electronic medical records by hospitals and physicians nationwide, the legislation did not enable health care providers to share clinical information necessary for meaningfully improving health outcomes and the patient care experience.

According to “Moving the Needle on Interoperable Health Information Technology,” the second in a three-part series of Implementing Health System Improvement primers from the Council of Accountable Physician Practices (CAPP), a coalition of visionary multi-specialty medical groups and health systems, a patient- or consumer-centered view of HIT is critical to advancing interoperability.

“We have the EHRs in place. Now it’s time to make sure they can talk to each other and that when they do, they have something meaningful to say,” says CAPP Chairman Dr. Stephen Parodi, executive vice president of the Permanente Federation. “To be certain that the care we provide is as well-coordinated, safe, efficient, and convenient for patients as possible, we need real-time access to information about all the care they receive.”

As the HITECH Act’s Meaningful Use Stage 3 implementation continues, CAPP suggests that the framework for interoperability should be move beyond simplistic, one-size-fits-all electronic exchange requirements. Policymakers should consider ways to make interoperability more attractive for EHR vendors and data holders, while seeking solutions from a wide range of industry leaders.

Additionally, clinical workflows can be improved by increasing EHR automation to promote patient-friendly interfaces and the fluid exchange of information. For systems to function, unique patient identifiers should be established with strong privacy protections in mind.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has predicted that it may be 2024 before the nation’s HIT systems achieve true interoperability; to get there, CAPP’s physician leaders urge policymakers to keep interoperability at the forefront of the health policy agenda.

To read the full text of the primer, click here.

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Stephen Parodi, M.D., Chairman, CAPP