Simply sharing data won’t work. You have to use the information in order for data to become valuable.

By Kenyatta Joseph, policy manager for business development at Xerox Government Healthcare Services

Interoperability entails more than the ability to communicate and exchange data; the real value comes in actually using the exchanged information. In healthcare environments (and others), analytics technology must be able to aggregate and harmonize data from multiple systems and provide real-time reporting and alerts.

The problem of healthcare data interoperability is rooted in the cultural and clinical norms of healthcare practice. Industry stakeholders face challenges in breaking down barriers in siloed health IT solutions.

For instance, expanded health insurance coverage is just one aspect of the Affordable Care Act. The ACA also seeks to improve care and lower costs — and for that to happen, data must flow. During the “State of Health IT Connect Summit” this week, officials from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) described how they planned to work with state partners to promote health data interoperability. Some of those plans included:

  • Connect the health insurance marketplaces and health IT.
  • Make a link between the newly enrolled and the health information exchange (HIE).
  • Connect state Medicaid IT enterprises with state HIE.

To learn more, read Beyond Meaningful Use – Policy Levers to Promote Interoperability, on Healthcare-Informatics.com.

Kenyatta Joseph is the editor of State Health Reform Watch, a newsletter from Xerox Government Healthcare Services. This newsletter is published monthly. To subscribe, send an email to govhealthcare@xerox.com.