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Health Information Technology Interoperability at HIMSS and Beyond

Published 2019-02-15

This week, the Workpath team had the privilege of joining 45,000+ colleagues from around the world at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Global Conference in Orlando, Florida. Together, we worked to discover new ways to leverage innovative information and technology to advance health transformation. Driving many of the inspiring conversations, educational sessions, and world-class speakers was the topic of interoperability. There’s a reason why interoperability was the biggest theme of this year’s HIMMS conference – because it’s one of the hardest problems that health systems, technology vendors, payers, and anyone involved in healthcare must solve. Let’s dig in. 


Connect. Coordinate. Optimize. 


HIMSS defines interoperability as “the ability of health information systems to work together within and across organizational boundaries in order to advance the effective delivery of healthcare for individuals and communities.” 


In its simplest terms, interoperability is the ability of different information systems, devices, or applications to connect, coordinate, and cooperatively use data with the goal of optimizing health. The topic of interoperability is so important, in fact, that HIMSS again devoted an entire Interoperability Showcase™ at its global conference, an area that not surprisingly always draws the highest traffic. Packed with demonstration areas, this year’s showcase featured a large education theater, a product marketplace, and endless opportunities to discuss the power of standards-based interoperability and showcase systems exchanging and using data in real time. As HIMSS attendees made their way through a diverse range of demonstrations kicking off every 15 minutes, one thing was clear – the interoperability community is dedicated to improving care, outcomes, and experiences. 


In total, this year’s HIMSS conference saw 82 organizations demonstrating 121 health IT systems across 16 different use cases. Sponsors for the Interoperability Showcase included the likes of Allscripts, BD, Dell Boomi, Cerner, CDC, The Da Vinci Project, Epic, ICU Medical, and the VA. 


Leading the pack was Change Healthcare, who announced at the conference a free clinical data interoperability service on Amazon Web Services that provides document retrieval, identity management, and record locator. This initiative is designed to enhance patient access to medical records and will support clinical decision making. Shez Partovit, AWS director of Worldwide Healthcare and Life Sciences, pointed out that AWS now provides access to over 95 HIPAA-eligible features and services, enabling Change Healthcare to support the delivery of medical information from a variety of sources across the healthcare industry.


The HIMMS conference also saw leaders from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology discussing interoperability, and newly proposed regulations.


By working together, health data exchange architectures and standards are allowing relevant data to be shared effectively and securely across the complete spectrum of care within a variety of settings. At Workpath, our goal is to continue to push interoperability forward in a manner that facilitates connections and interactions across these systems, regardless of the data’s origin or destination, to ensure data is usable and readily available. When this happens, we can optimize health by providing seamless access to the right information to better understand and address the health of individuals and populations. 


How Workpath Is Redesigning Healthcare 


At Workpath, we’ve created a platform that serves as a building block of information exchange. Using Workpath's HIPAA-compliant technology, healthcare partners are tracking all of their appointments and shifts in one place so that the right specialists can be dispatched to deliver the right care at the right time. Work can be added by a healthcare organization’s customers, team members, or through an API integration with an existing system or EHR (like Allscripts, Epic, and Cerner). This inter-connectivity lays the framework for the exchange of information between disparate systems. By seamlessly sharing data with our dispatching system, care can be delivered outside of the four walls of a doctor’s office or hospital setting. This exchange of information empowers patients and makes it possible to receive specialized care where patients need it most!


Workpath’s dedication to the highest level of interoperability means that patient information can be easily shared among authorized parties via electronic health record systems and other systems to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and efficacy of healthcare delivery! By closing the loop between analytics and workflow, we’re breaking down a siloed environment and bringing insights directly into the clinical workflow so that data relevant to patient care are shared and displayed when and where they’re needed most. Our experience at HIMMS reaffirms our goal to:  


1.    Create the seamless ability to securely access and use data from different sources using standards-based infrastructures.

2.    Work with others to rapidly learn, develop, test, and deploy the best in clinical, evidence-based guidelines and effectively utilize data.

3.    Provide a platform that makes the best use of artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Beyond HIMMS 


In the words of Dr. Manish Kohli, HIMSS board chair, "We serve a purpose that’s bigger than any one of us, bigger than any role we may have." Our hope is that our friends and colleagues attending HIMSS will return to their places of work with energy and enthusiasm about interoperability. Together, we must all work to facilitate the secure, seamless, and timely communication and use of data within and between organizations and individuals. 


Workpath is committed now more than ever to improving efficiencies, relationships, and overall health and wellness through cooperative use of shared data. Then -- and only then -- can healthcare fulfil its promise of delivering the right care, at the right time, and in the right place.