A Report of the AHA Interoperability Advisory Group (July 2015)
Hospitals and health systems around the country have made the transition to using electronic health records (EHRs). Now that we have large amounts of health information in electronic form, providers and policymakers are turning their eyes to the next goal of ensuring that the data can be easily and securely shared – also known as interoperability.
Hospitals and health systems cannot collect and share data across settings of care as easily as they want to, or without expensive and cumber - some work-arounds. At the same time, they face increasing needs to better understand their pa- tients’ conditions and care patterns to successfully manage new models of care such as accountable care organizations. In all endeavors to share information, they must maintain secure systems. For their part, federal officials are concerned that the $30 billion invested in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs has been wasted if the data cannot be shared easily.
The AHA formed the Interoperability Advisory Group (IAG) to better understand member priorities for information sharing, barriers to interoperability and specific actions that the public and private sectors could take to move forward. The 24 members of the IAG represent a range of facilities from critical access hospitals to large academic medical centers, and from stand-alone hospitals to large integrated health systems. The group includes information technology, clinical and administrative leaders. The group deliberated over six months via conference calls, individual outreach and a one-day, in-person meeting.