US and UK collaborate on healthcare IT

US and UK governments have signed an agreement designed to improve use and sharing of healthcare IT and related tools.
By Dillan Yogendra
09:48 AM

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and UK Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt signed the bilateral agreement. The agreement strengthens efforts to nurture and increase the use of health IT designed to help improve the quality and efficiency of the delivery of healthcare in both countries. The two Secretaries of Health signed the agreement at the Annual Meeting of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

The agreement is the outcome of a summit held last summer, in which the two countries agreed to collaborate in four key areas:

  • Sharing of quality indicators and the identification of best practices between different UK and US quality indicators: the collaboration reviewed existing quality indicators and selected depression symptom screening and knee/hip quality indicators, and is now identifying alignments across existing British and American repositories to identify best practices in the design and use of quality indicators.
  • Liberating data and putting those data to work: the discussion and identification of areas for collaboration around:

Open data and safe and secure data transparency of secondary stored data, with the consent of patients to enable the two countries to assess the quality of preventive interventions and healthcare delivery.

Interoperability standards for improvement of data sharing and clinical care, with a focus on consumers and/or patients accessing and sharing their data, for example ‘Blue Button’ in the US.

  • Adoption of digital health record systems: both organizations will work to maximize successful adoption of digital records across the healthcare spectrum and support the development of a robust health IT workforce.
  • Priming the health IT market by recognizing barriers to innovation and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises: organizations will work to support the health IT marketplace.

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