As a whole, healthcare leaders need to think about including nontraditional data to reduce disparities, said Epic VP Peter DeVault at ONC's annual meeting on Tuesday.

Epic vice president: Healthcare must focus on 'interoperability of knowledge'

By Jessica Davis
11:06 AM

During the "Future of Innovation" session at ONC's Annual meeting on May 31, three of the health IT industry's top leaders discussed the current healthcare landscape, offering perspective on how it's evolving and assessing its potential.

For Epic Vice President Peter DeVault, in order for health technology to reach its full potential, the concept of interoperability must be broadened outside of the focus of patients to include what he called the "interoperability of knowledge."

"We should start thinking about using nontraditional data for purpose of reducing disparities," DeVault said. "We have huge amounts of data – much more than what we know what to do with – so we need algorithms to determine what is important."

[Also: HHS and ONC post transparency data to make buying EHRs easier]

One of the biggest barriers to accomplishing this, according to Alistair Erskine, MD, chief strategic information officer of Geisinger Health System, is culture.

"We expect patients to come to us on our terms and on our schedule," Erskine said. "But that needs to change. We have to activate that culture of medicine and remind ourselves that patients are consumers as well and they have a choice."

Erskine said he thinks the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is on the right path with MACRA, in terms of interoperability and breaking down barriers that impede data sharing.

Nonetheless, "the pie is much bigger than just the EHR," said Robert Jarrin, senior director of Government Affairs at Qualcomm. "Medical device interoperability is a big deal. And regrettably it has not been front and center related to health IT.

"The future is going to be adding computing power to the person - as it happens- and paint a picture of what they look like from the inside," he added.

The good news, said Erskine, is that healthcare can look back on other industries over the years to see what models work and apply them to the healthcare landscape.

"There is really not the type of customer relation management model in healthcare," Erskine said. "But there needs to be." 


ONC's Annual Meeting is happening this week in Washington, D.C. Other Healthcare IT News articles covering the event include: EHRs now nearly ubiquitous in U.S. hosptials, ONC and AHA sayDOD poised to roll out Cerner EHR in December with focus on configuration not customization and ONC's DeSalvo: Time to change the culture of interoperability and data sharing


Twitter: @JessieFDavis
Email the writer: jessica.davis@himssmedia.com