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Interoperability a focus at HIMSS 2019

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Among the many pertinent and educational topics featured at HIMSS19, held in February 2019, was Health Information Exchange, Interoperability, Data Integration & Standards. Participants were encouraged to explore “all aspects of information exchange, interoperability, data integration and standards across technical and administrative strategies that contribute to sustaining the healthcare enterprise and enabling a positive consumer experience.”

HIMSS19 brought together over 45,000 healthcare professionals, including health information and technology professionals, clinicians, executives and market suppliers, featuring the theme “Champions of Health Unite.” Interoperability was a key focus at the conference. In fact, according to an article published by Mobihealth News, interoperability stood out among the extensive list of educational topics presented at the annual conference.

Mobihealth noted that interoperability has been on the conversation and seminar list for several years at the HIMSS conferences, but “this time there was a sense that all the effort that’s gone into creating HL7, FHIR and other data standardization and sharing tools is finally paying off.” The topic of interoperability also included discussion of the new rules proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Several sessions featured interoperability and the move to artificial intelligence (AI) in the medical field. Sessions included Style Standards to Improve Data Quality and Interoperability, focused on improved interoperability’s accuracy as well as the overall process. Another session, From Print to Interoperability: Cancer Staging in the EHR, looked at leveraging the EHR for cancer staging and transitioning from print to a truly interoperable electronic format for medical records.

The session, Enabling Data Interoperability Across the Continuum of Care, was presented by leaders from CMS and ONC. Presenters discussed the organizations’ goals around health information technology (HIT) vocabularies and how Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) can enable data exchange.

The conference also featured an Interoperability Showcase where attendees could see technology solutions and learn more about interoperability topics that may impact them.