Drivers of Healthcare Interoperability – Meaningful Use and ACOs

Posted on March 20, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Seems like this week must be interoperability week on EMR and HIPAA after my post yesterday about HIE transport in meaningful use stage 2 and my post today on drivers of healthcare data interoperability.

I was looking through some past notes from a meeting at AHIMA that I had with Health Language Inc. It was a fascinating conversation with Brian F. McDonald, Executive VP and CFO and Marc A. Horowitz, Senior VP. I remember that these guys eat, drink and sleep medical terminology. One of the really interesting observations I took from talking with them was:

Meaningful use and ACOs are the drivers of interoperability in healthcare.

Months after first hearing this idea, it rings even more true. In meaningful use stage 2, ONC and CMS have made it very clear that they plan to use meaningful use as a motivating force behind the sharing of healthcare data. This includes sharing of healthcare data doctor to doctor and also doctor to patient. I expect meaningful use stage 3 will find these concepts at their core as well.

As we try and evaluate what an ACO would look like, some form of healthcare data exchange has got to be part of the solution. I don’t believe anyone will find a way to really improve health the way an ACO will need to improve care without an exchange of data between EHR systems. Considering the pay for performance days are short at hand, this will be an encouraging factor for EHR systems to start exchanging data.

I’ve often said the big problem with interoperability of data in healthcare is the financial aspects and the governance (ie. when to share data) aspects. I see ACOs and meaningful use pushing healthcare providers to figure out both problems.

If not these drivers, what else will get healthcare to start sharing data?