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AMIA submits recommendations to improve interoperability

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AMIA submits recommendations to improve interoperability

AMIA submits recommendations to improve interoperability August 18, 2017

In April 2017, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology (IT) released the Proposed Interoperability Standards Measurement Framework. The framework was designed to “to determine the nation’s progress in implementing interoperability standards in health information technology (health IT) and the use of the standards as a way to measure progress towards nationwide interoperability.”

Interoperable electronic health records (EHR) allow the electronic sharing of patient information between different EHR systems and healthcare providers, improving the ease with which doctors can provide care to their patients and patients can move in and out of different care facilities.

On publishing the document, ONC requested “public comments on its proposed interoperability standards measurement framework and how to best engage data holders and other relevant stakeholders in implementing the proposed framework.”  The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) submitted their response in July 2017, in a 10-page letter addressing the various areas of the proposed framework.

AMIA, which represents “more than 5,400 informatics professionals, representing researchers, front-line clinicians and public health experts,” supports the development of a measurement framework for interoperability standards. In their response, AMIA emphasized the need to have the benefits outweigh the costs and to limit the reporting burden. The letter recommends that measurement and measure reporting:

  1. Be automated wherever possible;
  2. Initially, target high-value standards/use cases; and
  3. Deliver value to those stakeholders being measured.

AMIA recommended that the proposed framework’s Objective 2: Use of Standards by End Users to Meet Specific Interoperability Needs, should have both quantitative and qualitative measures. Quantitative measures should be automated, according to the AMIA, which added that “ONC must understand which standards are used to facilitate interoperability for clinical use cases that are widely considered to have high-value for patients.”

AMIA also urged the ONC to further determine where interoperability is not occurring:

Rather than try to develop measures for the myriad of ways interoperability may be occurring, we recommend an approach that looks to understand where interoperability is needed, and then assess whether it is occurring.

In publishing the proposed framework, ONC stated that it wants to engage stakeholders in the process and “hopes to develop a measurement framework that is realistic to implement while providing an accurate assessment.”