Roadmap to Interoperability
Following a multi-year collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has released a Roadmap for nationwide interoperability in Health IT. The Roadmap is a vision for electronic and digital health as a robust system of providers who can share patient data to more accurately monitor and diagnose health information, resulting in significantly improved health care.
Despite widespread adoption of electronic health records, only 14 percent of healthcare providers are currently sharing patient data with providers outside their organization. This is due to a wide variance of standards (i.e. prescription medication and treatment codes) at national, state and organizational levels. Through technical and policy recommendations, the Roadmap serves to streamline these existing, and sometimes conflicting standards.
Standards variation contributes to distrust among institutions, medical professionals and, most of all, patients. Creating uniform standards will ensure that data is not lost during the exchange of patient health information.
Guidance for nationwide interoperability is provided over three, six and ten year increments (through 2024) and will address security and cybersecurity measures, data exchange and encryption standards as well as provider incentives to transition from the use of fee-for-service to value-based payments.
Value-based payment structures are moving into the doctor and hospital communities to which payments are determined by patient outcomes and quality of care which are more effectively tracked by electronic health records. Health IT and digital health products will provide testing and prescriptive data for patients, resulting in a significant increase in opportunities for data aggregation and clinical research.
Participation in ONCs Roadmap recommendations will largely be voluntary, however will provide greater chance for developers to feedback on qualifying product innovation, as well as the eventual goal of combining clinical and administrative data for increased transparency in a 100 percent value-based payment network.