Press Release

West Health Institute and ONC issue call for action to healthcare stakeholders to drive medical interoperability

2 min
March 14, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA and WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mar. 24, 2014 – The Gary and Mary West Health Institute and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today released a white paper summarizing the HCI-DC 2014: Igniting an Interoperable Healthcare System conference, featuring lessons learned and synthesizing findings into a call for action to achieve an interoperable healthcare system.

“Interoperability is a burning issue that impairs care delivery, and patients are waiting for it to be improved,” said Nicholas Valeriani, Chief Executive of West Health. “Interoperability can enable a smarter healthcare delivery system and I encourage all stakeholders to recognize that the lack of interoperability is a crisis and to advocate for rapid change.”

Featuring a 10-page executive summary of the opportunities and challenges associated with interoperability, the HCI-DC white paper provides guidance on how hospitals, health systems and clinicians, patients, regulatory agencies, healthcare technology vendors, standards development organizations, the investor community, and payors can all take clear action to drive interoperability. It also summarizes keynote and panel presentations from HCI-DC 2014, which took place Feb. 6, 2014 in Washington D.C.

“ONC envisions an information-rich, consumer centered healthcare system that allows a patient’s health information to follow them wherever they get their care,” said Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for Health IT. “We are working with patients, providers and others across healthcare and health IT to securely and safely free health information that will help to improve patient care and health, at lower costs.”

Joseph Smith, MD, Ph.D, chief science and medical officer at the West Health Institute, is the executive editor of the white paper. Contributing editors include:

  • Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD, chief science officer & director, Office of Science & Technology, ONC
  • Michael Johns, MD, chairman, Center for Medical Interoperability
  • Mark Leahey, president and CEO, Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA)
  • Bakul Patel, senior policy advisor to the Center Director, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Introduction on HCI-DC and Medical Interoperability

Interoperability—the ability of systems to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged—can help solve the healthcare crisis. The West Health Institute’s HCI-DC 2014, cohosted by ONC, brought together experts from across the healthcare community to consider how interoperability can cut costs, improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve health. Interoperability across systems and care settings can empower patients, help doctors make better decisions, and allow them and nurses and other healthcare providers to spend more time with patients. It can accelerate innovation and free up technology resources in hospitals so that they can focus on improving care in the community.

According to a West Health Institute analysis, interoperability could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings and improve patient care and safety.

The full white paper as well and the abbreviated executive summary including the call for action are available for free download here.