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U.S., U.K. to Collaborate on Health IT

January 24, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.K. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt have signed a bi-lateral agreement for the use and sharing of health IT information and tools between the two countries.

The agreement signals a formal commitment by both countries to collaborate to advance the applications of data and technology to improve health. Originally identified at the June 5, 2013, bi-lateral summit meeting between the U.S. and the U.K., the collaboration focuses on four key areas for health IT and innovation.

  • Sharing Quality Indicators – The collaboration reviewed existing quality indicators and selected depression symptom screening and knee/hip quality indicators, and is now identifying alignments across existing British and American repositories to identify best practices in the design and use of quality indicators. Future work will include mutually leveraging technical experts and data, and working on a standardized approach to quality indicator development;
  • Liberating Data and Putting It to Work – HHS and the National Health Service will discuss and find areas of collaboration around: 

          Open data and safe and secure data transparency of secondary stored data, with the consent of patients to allow for the two countries to further assess the quality of preventive interventions and healthcare delivery

          Interoperability standards for improvement of data sharing and clinical care respectively, with a focus on consumer/patients accessing and sharing their data

  • Adopting Digital Health Record Systems –  Both organizations will work to maximize successful adoption of digital records across the healthcare spectrum and support the development of a robust health IT workforce; and
  • Priming the Health IT Market – Both organizations will work to support the health it marketplace by identifying barriers to innovation, sharing individual certification approaches for patients and clinician-facing applications, and strategies to support small and medium enterprises/start-ups.

“While we have very different healthcare delivery systems and payment models, we both face similar challenges posed by aging populations, increased levels of co-morbid chronic disease, and escalating complexity of care delivery and costs,” Sebelius said. “By working together, we can more effectively take on these challenges, improve the health IT economy, and the health of the American and British populations.”

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