Skip to main content


6 Keys to Hospital Interoperability

By John Commins  
   January 22, 2019

Hospital stakeholders call for accelerating 'truly interoperable system' that advances best practices while ensuring accuracy, standardization, accessibility and security.

The nation's seven largest national hospital associations have released a report urging all stakeholders to accelerate interoperability.

"We see interoperability in action all around us. Mobile phones can call each other regardless of make, model, or operating system," said American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack.

"The hospital field has made good headway, but it's time to complete the job. We are united in calling for a truly interoperable system that allows all providers and patients to benefit from shared health records and data, leading to fully informed care decisions," Pollack said.

The hospital associations note that 93% of hospitals are now making records available to patients online, and 88% share records with ambulatory care providers outside of their systems.

The report, Sharing Data, Saving Lives: The Hospital Agenda for Interoperability, the stakeholders identified six elements that they believe are critical for advancing interoperability:

  1. Security and Privacy: Shared data must be accurate, secure, and used in accordance with best practices.
  2. Efficient, Usable Solutions: Data must be available when and where it's needed, and in a usable format.
  3. Cost Effective, Enhanced Infrastructure: Data sharing networks must apply common standards and a common set of "rules of the road" for the exchanges.
  4. Standards that Work: Build standards that drive consistency and minimize proprietary solutions and gatekeeping
  5. Connecting Beyond Electronic Health Records: Interoperability must also support population health, address social determinants of health, and facilitate remote monitoring of patient-generated data.
  6. Shared Best Practices: All stakeholders should share best practices and support what works.

"For the best care today, it's the data stupid, Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn said.

"Quality care depends on having the right information at the right time so our patient's records need to be available in the hospital or wherever our patients receive care," Kahn said. "Hospitals are joining together to support improving interoperability because it is the key to assuring the best for our patients."

The contributors to this report include: America's Essential Hospitals, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Children's Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare.

“For the best care today, it's the data stupid.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


Standardization seen as key to minimizing proprietary solutions and gatekeeping.

Interoperability means that data must be readily available anywhere, at any time and in a usable format.

Data sharing networks must support population health, social determinants of health, and remote monitoring of patient-generated data.

Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.