HIE and interoperability trends to watch in 2016

'We're on track for another year of momentous forward movement in increased adoption by providers and greater interoperability'
By Jessica Davis
10:46 AM
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As the healthcare industry moves toward a more patient-centered mission, security measures and interoperability will progress at a steady rate, according to DirectTrust, a healthcare industry alliance created by Direct exchange network participants.

The group recently released its predictions on the six trends for interoperable electronic exchange of health information for the upcoming year.

[See also: HIE: What's in a name?]

"In the world of electronic health information exchange, we're on track for another year of momentous forward movement in increased adoption by providers and greater interoperability between Federal and state agencies with private-sector providers," said David Kibbe, MD, DirectTrust president and CEO, in a press statement.

[See also: A new business model for HIE?]

"We'll also see, finally, patient and consumer participation in the use of electronic health information exchange," he said.

The constant for 2016 will be a rise in patient engagement in HIEs, along with a drastic increase in security measures to prevent breaches. DirectTrust also predicts the end of Stage 3 meaningful use.

1. Patients and consumers will participate in electronic health data exchange. With increased access to their clinical records, patients will be able to easily deliver their records to the appropriate parties; thus, enabling them to take control of their healthcare. Provider willingness to permit patient engagement will increase across the country, as well.

2. 'Freed' data will provide unimagined personal and professional enrichments. Electronic access will propel an increase of patient-facing applications to empower consumers to reap the benefits and 'mash up' content from multiple locations and services - a trend set to grow explosively.

3. Federal and state agencies will move toward increased interoperability. These federal and state agencies with administrative needs to move personal health information will take advantage of provider capabilities of using electronic data exchange through EHRs - replacing mail and fax.

4. Meaningful use will face forced, early retirement. Having alienated nearly the entire health provider community and accomplishing significant goals for EHR adoption expansion, Meaningful Use programs will wane by the close of 2016. DirectTrust isn't certain how it will occur, but is predicting that CMS and ONC will "see the writing on the wall."

5. Security, privacy and identity will reign. As HIE usage increases, the focus on security, privacy and identity will follow suit. All parties using electronic data exchange will demand rigorous certification, accreditation and audits of security and identity controls, as the first step in data sharing coordination.

6. Direct exchange reliance will continue to increase. As providers progress into interoperable patient health information transfers, the drivers of HIE will expand from meaningful use to geographically-separated members of healthcare teams, value-based purchasing agreements and the like. The result of which will make fax and mail communication obsolete.

See also:

Direct messaging finding stride, despite hurdles
ONC reveals final interoperability roadmap