Carolinas HealthCare IT chief: Interoperability will be solved in 5 to 6 years

Craig Richardville said the holy grail of widespread health information exchange will begin maturing quickly in a shorter period of time than many people expect.
By Bernie Monegain
04:21 PM
Carolinas interoperability solved

CHARLOTTE, NC – Carolinas HealthCare Systems Craig Richardville said the healthcare industry will achieve information interoperability faster than the financial services sector did.

“You’ll see that happening in our industry, quicker than the decades it took them,” Richardville, who is Carolinas Chief Information and Analytics Officer, said during an interview at his offices here. “Ours will be in probably half a dozen years, you’ll start seeing that really mature.”

As healthcare has been striving to make exchanging data more common interoperability is widely viewed as chief among the biggest technological, cultural and business challenges. 

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Carolinas, for instance, built its own private health information exchange, called CareConnect, which gives physicians electronic access to their patients’ medical information. Carolinas HealthCare created the exchange, Richardville said, “to be able to communicate back and forth with more data and at more frequency.”

And Richardville sees bigger and broader exchange possibilities in the wings with Carequality, an initiative of the Sequoia Project, which makes exchanging information among competing EHRs more viable than ever before.

“You know, there is a whole thing about Cerner vs. Epic, right? That they can’t communicate,” Richardville said. “I don’t think people would expect Wells Fargo and Bank America to communicate directly,” he said of the two banking giants with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. “So the highway that’s being built will allow them to participate in Carequality.”

He pointed out that Cerner is part of the CommonWell Alliance, and CommonWell is now a member of Carequality.

“It will allow us to be able to communicate on that roadmap, as opposed to try to take two things and make them talk and have all this point-to- point,” he said.

Today, many other CIOs, EHR vendors, policymakers, providers and patients all have their eyes on the prize: A truly interoperable healthcare system that puts the right data in the right hands at the right time.

Indeed, Richardville said that the interoperability imperative will take healthcare to a whole new level – one that is nimble and more responsive.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
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