Top 5 videos from HIMSS17
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Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

John Halamka, Jonathan Bush to talk interoperability and future-proof HIT at HIMSS16

Execs will point to specific examples where interoperability has worked in other industries and what healthcare can learn from how well those scale.
By Jack McCarthy
08:27 PM
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, MD, (left) and athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush will take the stage together at HIMSS16

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, MD and athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush will take the stage together at HIMSS16 to discuss what is perhaps the most contentious topic in health IT: interoperability.

“You can look at the pressure we have today on creating interoperability and what you have is a lot of government mandates without the infrastructure to empower those mandates,” Halamka said. “But there are also examples of things that have gone right across the country, which we can replicate.”

Indeed, interoperability remains the goal of organizations seeking to have their diverse IT systems and software applications communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. But what organizations have to do to get to interoperability is one of the vexing questions troubling HIT leaders.

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Halamka, who is also chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network, said there are both barriers and breakthroughs in the larger of context of achieving accountable care.

Along with Bush, Halamka will lead the session, “How Future-Proof HIT Infrastructure Supports Data,” to examine successful HIT system interoperation examples.

With 5,000 patient data exchanges happening every day via the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Halmaka said that while point-to-point approaches to interoperability achieved some small scale, costly success stories, new cloud-hosted solutions might work for a large number of organizations.

“If you were to look at other industries, whether they be social media or Netflix or HBO, they have approached the problem of creating interoperability at a scale of tens, even hundreds of millions but at low cost,” he said. “What can we learn from that and how can we replicate it?”

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Interoperability will also develop as incentives to achieve accountable care are introduced and payment models continue evolving, he said.

“As you look at the Affordable Care Act and look at other things happening with Medicare reimbursement, in some way the new incentives will be more potent than meaningful use in changing behavior,” Halmaka added. “Sharing data with patients will be more common.”

The session “How Future-Proof HIT Infrastructure Supports Data,” is scheduled for March 1, 2016 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at HIMSS16.

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This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.

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