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State HIE leaders face uphill journey to health data interoperability

SearchHealthIT.com, July 6, 2011

The HITECH Act and meaningful use aim to promote -- and fund -- the building of a health IT infrastructure in which patient data fires across a national health information exchange. State IT leaders discussed the trials of building this national network at the 2011 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit in Washington, DC. The main hurdle they must overcome? Health data interoperability. "At its worst, meaningful use can appear a bureaucratic hodgepodge of hoops to jump through," said national health IT coordinator Farzad Mostashari, MD, in his keynote address, in which he confirmed that proposed Stage 2 meaningful use criteria are on schedule to be released later this year and finalized by mid-2012. "As hard as [achieving electronic health record] adoption is, exchange is that much harder because of technical reasons, because the services you need aren't there yet, because policies need to be articulated -- particularly around privacy and money." Gregory Franklin, deputy health IT director for the state of California's Technology Agency, framed the complexity of the health data interoperability challenge in a panel discussion following Mostashari's address.