Getting from A to B

A new NeHC roadmap aims to set the course for widespread, secure and interoperable nationwide health information exchange.

NeHC delivers roadmap to connected nation

WASHINGTON – As National eHealth Collaborative CEO Kate Berry sees it, patient care will improve with the secure, easy and sustainable exchange of medical records between healthcare providers. To that end, NeHC, a public-private partnership focused on accelerating progress toward widespread, secure and interoperable nationwide health information exchange, last month released a roadmap for establishing and operating successful health information exchanges. The map addresses building, operating and sustaining the HIEs.

The “Health Information Exchange Roadmap: The Landscape and a Path Forward,” offers stakeholders a picture of efforts being undertaken by both the public and private sectors to create and implement the building blocks for widespread deployment of interoperable HIE, NeHC executives say. It also provides an understanding of how these diverse approaches fit together into a cohesive strategy for nationwide HIE and suggests a four-phase approach to help HIE initiatives make progress and become sustainable.

“In this time of unprecedented investment, growth and innovation, achieving widespread HIE is a worthy goal because of its many benefits to patient care,” said Berry. “A great deal of progress is being made today yet ongoing challenges remain. We hope this HIE Roadmap helps to clarify options, motivate action and accelerate success for those stakeholders who believe that HIE is a necessary foundation for healthcare transformation.” (NewsMaker interview with Berry, page 38)

The roadmap covers three topics in detail:

1. ONC-led efforts to develop nationally recognized standards that can be leveraged by local HIE initiatives and how those standards work in harmony with local efforts to create a cohesive strategy for market-driven interoperability;

2. Examples of where national standards are currently being leveraged by diverse market based initiatives to provide innovative HIE functionality and services; and

3. A roadmap of the major steps communities can follow to accelerate progress toward the realization of a widespread and successful deployment of interoperable EHRs, connected health IT tools and real time information sharing through HIE.

“ONC has been a significant catalyst in propelling the nation toward the goal of standardized technical interoperability between electronic health records and information sharing through health information exchange,” said Kevin Hutchinson, a member of the HIT Standards Committee and chair of the NeHC Board of Directors (pictured at left). “As a member of the HIT Standards Committee, I can attest first-hand to the incredible difference ONC has made to encourage and enable widespread HIE by bringing the community directly into the standards development process.”