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● Electronic Health Records

Turning CIOs into chief interoperability

offi cers New survey stresses the need for health IT collaboration. By Tee Green


hould every health system, hospital or group practice CIO know that to do interoperability right they need to consider XDS or PIX at the core of functionality? T at these cross-enterprise document-sharing and

patient-identifi er cross-reference protocols can reach into another EHR? Health IT solution providers should, and it’s clear from a

survey of CIOs commissioned by Greenway that they want leaders who will partner in their pursuit of the data liquidity that fi ts their needs. Right now, education outranks selling, as interoperability is arguably the most important factor in addressing the range of care coordination programs every healthcare entity is facing. It’s also clear that the growing EHR replacement market is being fueled by a reassessment of original platforms lacking in comprehensive data exchange at a point when the improve- ment of population health should not take any backward steps. T e survey specifi cally found that the primary concern

CIOs have about utilizing technology in their healthcare system is, of course, interoperability. Twenty-six percent voiced it in basic terms, and another 18 percent specifi cally in terms of medical staff alignment, which is itself a function of interoper- ability through the alignment of hospitals and clinics on EHR platforms capable of seamlessly exchanging data. T at’s 44 percent overall, which outweighed cost at 22 percent. Who should carry the burden of interoperability? Forty-

nine percent chose a shared process between health IT solution providers and the healthcare system. T irty-three percent chose a shared approach additionally led by health IT. Taken together, that’s 82 percent voicing the need for a shared partnership. T at’s an overwhelming result the industry needs to listen to. And don’t think that today’s patient-consumers are not

aware that technology matters. We surveyed them too, and 56 percent notice when technology is used at the point of care

12 March 2013

Tee Green is president and chief executive officer, Greenway Medical Technologies. For more on Greenway Medical Technologies: www.rsleads. com/303ht-202

and believe it helps their doctors do a better job. T ey also realize, by a 3-to-1 margin, that technology beats paper when it comes to sharing data.

Where do we go from here? National organizations – such as the EHR/HIE Interop-

erability Workgroup, a coalition of state agencies, EHR companies, HIEs and certifi cation experts – are solidifying standards, from PIX to C-CDA, and must also foster and project a sense of selfl ess collaboration with CIOs and doc- tors and nurses. T is is a key example of how health IT leaders can create a

smarter and sustainable healthcare system, and it takes away any skepticism that the industry is not in it for population health. T e movement to national interoperability must be led by the industry, not by external policy, to further assure CIOs that motivations are in the right place. Our survey did not refl ect an overly negative attitude, and

that’s because health IT leaders are already showing the willing- ness to partner with each other. Development agreements and data exchange pilots by

perceived market competitors are starting to emerge that align hospitals and clinics and integrate with HIEs, and select EHR- to-EHR exchange has become a staple of an interoperability showcase near you. I predict that by the time meaningful-use Stage 2 gets un-

derway in 2014, the thresholds for data exchange being tied to incentives – electronically transmitting 10 percent of care transitions, at least one to a diff erent EHR platform – will be eclipsed. T e healthcare industry expects it. It’s the primary concern, the primary need for partnership and the primary way for health IT to deliver. View the entire survey, “Healthcare Information Technol- ogy: Trends and Transformations,” at HMT


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