The ability to share data among providers has been hobbled by obstacles large and small. But as technologies mature, real-world models of workable interoperability are emerging.
As the summer doldrums wind down, there are some reasons to be optimistic about the state of data interoperability in healthcare.
While no one development signals that we've turned the corner on this predominant technology shortcoming standing between healthcare providers and data-driven value-based care, when taken as a group, they are encouraging signposts.
1. The Argonaut Project's progress means more rapid interop development.
Launched in late 2014, the Argonaut Project was the unprecedented collaboration of traditional healthcare rivals Epic and Cerner, as well as many others, to develop a set of implementation guides for HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), basically a series of shortcuts to allowing EHRs and other apps to interoperate between providers.
While a handful of healthcare organizations have managed to implement some FHIR technology, Argonaut was launched to provide a "code sprint" so developers from EHR companies to healthcare organizations could more quickly implement key interop use cases ranging from sharing problem lists, immunizations, medication list, allergies and other key meaningful use requirements.
After some initial consensus work last year, next month Argonaut will finalize a set of core implementation guides, says Micky Tripathi, head of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, whose organization is managing Argonaut.
Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.