As the headlines surrounding Stage 2 focus on specific interoperability tied to summary of care, information exchange in many forms is really the broader theme as meaningful use helps drive care coordination.
As Stage 2 nears, it’s time to nurture caregivers beyond the historical focus of interoperability as a jargon-heavy, system-to-system infrastructure. Interoperability not as a technical challenge, but a multi-faceted approach to coordinating care and advancing value-based medicine.
Today, we need to think about interoperability as provider to provider, provider to patient, provider to device, provider to HIEs, registries and public health agencies for example, all tied to integrated EHRs and health IT platforms.
In terms of provider to patient, Stage 2 alone includes four patient engagement measures that call for the ability to exchange information. That’s interoperability with a human face. Taken a step further, if a provider is also part of a CMS Shared Savings program, patient satisfaction scoring – and therefore engagement – also becomes a measure of information exchange and a successful business goal with today’s patient-consumers.
Each of these facets of interoperability – menu items exchanging data with cancer registries, for example – is a technology tied to standards, creating a universal language and a longitudinal patient record, one that encompasses mobile technologies, scalable, flexible and customizable platforms that can expand throughout a care community.
As EHR-driven solutions establish the ability to exchange on all levels, caregivers can take the foundations achieved through meaningful use and apply them to the best fit for their practice, be it a patient-centered medical home, CMS ACO, private payer or hybrid payment and delivery model.
Interoperability is not the age-old debate between nature versus nurture. For true care coordination, it is both.
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Justin Barnes is a vice president at Greenway Medical Technologies, chairman emeritus of the Electronic Health Record Association (EHR Association) and co-chair of the national Accountable Care Community of Practice (ACCoP).