SSource: Health IT – 25 things to know about health IT interoperability

Health IT interoperability refers to the unimpeded exchange of healthcare information between data repositories. As a telradiologist licensed in 35 states, ABPM certified clinical informatist, CHIME member, CPHIMS, and Founder of two national teleradiology companies, I have learned some important lessons about healthcare IT interoperability during the past 25 years.

Health IT interoperability is focused on technical conveyance of healthcare information between medical entities but this is a bare minimum technical requirement. In most cases, I have found that the transfer of large data data sets without clinically useful context  is Meaningless Use of electronic health records rather than Meaningful Collaboration(TM)  between medical providers caring for the same patient.

During my 25 years of radiology, I have experienced multiple types of obstacles and challenges to health IT interoperability. Most medical providers report challenges accessing health information that reside within different EMR systems. Several years ago, I was excited to learn about Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIO) as method for information sharing between healthcare stakeholders. Unfortunately most RHIOs failed miserably for a veariety of reasons and were replaced by Health Information Exchanges (HIE). Some HIEs are thriving although most HIEs are struggling for a variety of reasons: political, financial, or low medical provider enrollment.

My experience with a HIE is that data contribution is almost exclusively from large hospital entities with very little contribution form radiology centers or outpatient medical entities. These significant content gaps makes it difficult for our practice to rely on the HIE for a full picture of a patient;s health information. In addition, medical entities contributing data to the HIE organize their contributed data differently and it can challenging to find the expect desired data and clinical context within the big data environment commonly associated with health information exchanges.

I believe there is critical need for Federated Medical Record Collaboration Platforms within which medical providers and healthcare stakeholders could access clinically pertinent ePHI and participate in Meaningful Collaboration(TM) between medical providers, patients, payors and regulators. Virtual Viewbox Inc. has advocated for creation of a HIPAA compliant Healthcare Collaboration platform and supports the Meaningful Collaboration in Healthcare initiative. Virtual Viewbox Inc. operates on the RadCloud® private cloud platform, the first private cloud platform designed from the ground up to support meaningful collaboration between healthcare stakeholders.

In future posts I will discuss more specifics about healthcare IT interoperability.


Written by Douglas K Smith MD, CPHIMS
Board Certified orthopedic and spine teleradiologist and clinical informatist, inventor, thought leader, and serial doctorpreneur. Principle investigator and author of 35+ peer reviewed journal article and book chapters, 10 health information technology patents pending, 4 Copyrights and 23 Trademarks. During service as US Ski & Snowboarding Team Radiologist, Dr Smith created a collaboration platform based upon the newly released iPAD tablet back in 2010 and remains driven to "Create a universally accessible collaboration platform for healthcare providers everywhere- Meaningful Collaboration.