Lack of Interoperability Holding Back Robust Health Data Infrastructure | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Lack of Interoperability Holding Back 'Robust Health Data Infrastructure'

April 16, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

The lack of interoperability is a major impediment to the development of a robust health data infrastructure, according to an independent report commissioned by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), with input from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The report was conducted by JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the U.S. Government on matters of science and technology. Researchers looked at current challenges that must be overcome in enabling progress in creating a health data infrastructure that can live up to the promise of its many benefits, which include improved care and lowered costs.

More than anything, the researchers say that lack of interoperability among data resources for electronic health record (EHR) systems is holding the industry back. This can only be overcome, the researchers say, by establishing a comprehensive, transparent, and overarching software architecture for health information. They also say that the current criteria for Stages 1 and 2 of meaningful use fall short of meaningful use in any practical sense.

"At present, large-scale interoperability amounts to little more than replacing fax machines with the electronic delivery of page-formatted medical records. Most patients still cannot gain electronic access to their health information," the researchers write. The researchers say that current efforts to define standards for EHRs and to certify HIT systems are useful, but lack a unifying architecture to support broad interoperability.

The researchers recommend that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) embrace Stage 3 meaningful use as an opportunity to create a true interoperable health data infrastructure. Also, Stage 3 should enable entrepreneurship, by making EHR software vendors develop and publish APIs. They say that within 12 months, ONC should define an overarching software architecture for health data. This infrastructure should not only allow for interoperability, but protect patient privacy and facilitate access between clinical care and biomedical research.

For its part, ONC has responded in kind with the JASON report. In a Buzz Blog post, Karen DeSalvo, M.D., the National Coordinator for Health IT, said she agreed with the findings of this report.

"I am pleased that this report is consistent with our intent to support nationwide interoperability in a way that supports care, health and is flexible enough to meet the challenges of the future. The ONC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) have already begun to work on many of the recommendations cited in the report–although this represents the beginning, not the end of our efforts. The JASON recommendations continue to challenge us to stay focused on the path ahead," Dr. DeSalvo wrote.

Read the source article at

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More



MGMA: Physician Compensation Data Illustrates Nationwide PCP Shortage

Primary care physicians’ compensation rose by more than 10 percent over the past five years, representing an increase which is nearly double that of specialty physicians’ compensation over the same period, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Circulation, Buoy Health Collaborate on Integrated Platform for Patient Transportation

Boston-based startup Circulation Health, a ride-ordering exchange that coordinates medical transportation logistics using Lyft and other transportation partners, is partnering with Buoy Health, also based in Boston, to integrate their platforms to provide patients with an end-to-end healthcare experience.

HITRUST Provides NIST Cybersecurity Framework Certification

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), security and privacy standards development and accreditation organization, announced this week a certification program for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (Framework).

Report: Interoperability in NHS England Faces Similar Barriers as U.S. Healthcare

Electronic patient record interoperability in NHS England is benefiting patient care, but interoperability efforts are facing barriers, including limited data sharing and cumbersome processes falling outside of the clinician workflow, according to a KLAS Research report.

Geisinger National Precision Health Hires Illumina Exec to Lead Business Development

Integrated health system Geisinger has hired a high-profile genetic counselor to head up business development for Geisinger National Precision Health, which was created to extend the Geisinger model on the national scene.

$30M VC Fund Launched to Spur Innovation in Cardiovascular Care

The American Heart Association, together with Philips and UPMC, has announced the launch of Cardeation Capital, a $30 million collaborative venture capital fund designed to spur healthcare innovation in heart disease and stroke care.