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WHI, ONC Issue Call to Action to Ignite an Interoperable Healthcare System at Washington Conference

FDA announces plans for draft device interoperability guidance this spring.

February 10, 2014 – The West Health Institute and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT hosted more than 1,700 stakeholders critical to driving interoperability in Washington D.C. on Feb. 6 at HCI-DC 2014: Igniting an Interoperable Health Care System, a conference dedicated to transforming the nation's healthcare system.


West Health Institute CEO Nick Valeriani


Dr. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health IT


Author Malcolm Gladwell

“Imagine a healthcare system that is simple, streamlined and smart—all made possible by interoperability,” West Health Institute CEO Nicholas Valeriani said in his opening remarks. “Today we are coming together with a very clear objective: to think differently about interoperability and to ignite the opportunities and break down the challenges to achieving it."

Valeriani outlined critical actions stakeholders need to take to enable an interoperable healthcare system in his closing remarks, saying:

Patients - don't be afraid to ask questions and advocate for the safety, quality and convenience of the healthcare you receive. The healthcare data is yours; demand that your information be shared seamlessly so that you get the best care;

Providers - set a predictable technology roadmap for your vendors. Give them a clear, unified picture of your interoperability specs and back them up with your purchasing power;

Vendors - embrace that roadmap and commit to developing, testing and providing products that meet customer and patient needs;

Payers - help make interoperability an imperative by focusing on outcomes-based payment models that promote quality and safety;

Investors - invest your resources in companies that are making interoperable solutions and following the customer-driven roadmap;

And Government - incentivize interoperability; work with industry to develop tools that advance regulatory science and can be used in approval and certification processes.

The FDA made also headlines at HCI-DC 2014 by announcing their plans to submit draft guidance on medical device interoperability, which could be issued as soon as April.

"We talked about the standards. We'll continue the efforts. We'll have more things rolling out," Jeffrey Shuren, director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said during a panel discussion with ONC and West Health representatives. "We're going to put out draft guidance this coming year about how we think about interoperability and recommendations for how device developers should think about it."

Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell keynoted HCI-DC with three stories about culture, framing and consequence from areas outside of the healthcare industry to illustrate about how interoperability can bring about great change.

“Sometimes when we look at innovation, we make the mistake of thinking that innovation is specific to an individual invention or a device, but that’s not it," Gladwell said. “The greatest transformation brought about by technology is when you bring the various pieces and have them work together in combination. It’s the synergies that bring about the greatest changes in the world.”

Click here to read GovernmentHealthIT’s summary of Gladwell’s speech. You can also visit our social media event recap or view #IGNITEinterop on Twitter, which was used in more than 2,000 tweets during the conference.

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