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Healthcare Interoperability Consortium Shows Promise

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, August 26, 2014

CIOs and CMIOs around the country would do well to stop imagining that perfect solutions in a decade are worth waiting for, and instead focus on how pretty-good interoperability could serve us all in the near term.

Everyone is talking about interoperability, and at least one fledgling group, spurred by a large healthcare provider, is willing to serve up real demos to prove they mean business.

The Healthcare Services Platform Consortium (HSPC) is an intriguing mix of modern IT thinking, real-world use cases, and (so far) quite modest hype that also has that elusive quality in the interoperability world known as momentum.

While the Commonwell Alliance still spins up basic interoperability work such as harmonizing patient ID information across different providers' systems, HSPC is tackling a broad range of IT challenges, such as allowing decision support or analytics apps to work "out of the box" across different EHR vendors' platforms.

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HSPC's mission is to create "plug-and-play interop, not just interop about data, but sharing of clinical decision support logic, sharing of actual applications, in an executable form, and sharing ultimately more complex processes that include workflows and other kinds of clinical scenarios," said Stan Huff, chief medical informatics officer, during a presentation at this year's HIMSS, a presentation available though little-seen on YouTube and held at the booth of a vendor, Harris Healthcare Solutions.

This type of interoperability could deliver a variety of decision-support applications to clinicians to manage sepsis, or bedside glucose in the ICU, or chronic coagulation, Huff said.

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