Interoperability done in 10 years?

By Bernie Monegain
09:27 AM
ONC puts spotlight on interoperability, but one survey shows lack of confidence among healthcare professionals.

Even as the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information technology puts interoperability front and center this week, comes a survey that shows healthcare professionals are skeptical it can be achieved in 10 years.

"Interoperability in 10 years is unquestionably a worthy goal, but our experience has shown that this is a complex area and providers need secure universal solutions in the interim," said Scrypt CEO Aleks Szymanski, in announcing his company's survey results.

Austin, Texas-based document management company Scrypt polled more than 700 healthcare providers on interoperability and also to gauge their opinions on HIPAA compliance in the wake of several high profile healthcare-related data breaches.

The results? Fewer than one in five healthcare professionals (17 percent) have confidence the government will be able to meet its goal to achieve interoperability in 10 years.


[See also: Interoperability: Just ahead or still far off?]

Whether the survey proves right or wrong, the ONC agenda this week is laser-focused on interoperability work. It begins today with the full Health IT Policy Committee.

The presentation includes a slide deck that makes the following points:

Nearly all hospitals have the infrastructure to enable exchange

  • Exchange with outside ambulatory care providers and outside hospitals is increasing (for hospitals, the increase is from 40 percent in 2008 to 76 percent in 2014, according to an AHA survey).
  • On quarter of hospitals nationwide are finding, sending and receiving and using data electronically.
  • Hospitals engaging in more interoperable exchange activity have higher levels of information electronically available from outside settings.
  • Limited ability of exchange partners to receive information electronically is a major barrier.
  • Exchange activity among hospitals is increasing. However more progress is needed.

[See also: ONC calls for interoperability by 2017.]

Besides today's meeting on data exchange and interoperability, ONC has also scheduled a meeting of the Interoperability Standards Advisory Task Force on Tuesday at 11 a.m., and the Clinical, Technical, Organizational and Financial Barriers to Interoperability Task Force Virtual Hearing is set for Friday at 10 a.m.
The Interoperability Standards Advisory Task Force is back in session Monday at noon.