West Health Institute Issues Urgent ‘Call To Action’ For Healthcare Interop

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March 23, 2014

As part of an ongoing series they call Healthcare Innovation Day, the West Health Institute held a daylong conference last month in D.C. that was focused exclusively on the topic of data interoperability.

Earlier today they released a White Paper (PDF here) that summarized key elements of the conference and what they believe are 8 crucial steps for the healthcare industry on the road ahead for data-level integration and interoperability.

1. Recognize that the lack of interoperability is a crisis and advocate for rapid change.
2. Frame the interoperability problem correctly: Everyone is in the business of gathering and sharing data to best serve patients.
3. Accelerate the full adoption of unambiguous, open standards for interoperability
4. Align stakeholder incentives to drive interoperability.
5. Ensure validity, privacy and security of data.
6. Reduce technical complexity for hospitals, health systems and healthcare workers.
7. Develop new ways to use data streams that will result from interoperability to drive an adaptive system that will improve patient health.
8. Guarantee secure access to data for patients and researchers.

I wrote about two of the conference segments earlier this month. The first was Malcolm Gladwell’s keynote (here) and the second was compelling testimony by patient advocate Anna McCollister-Slipp (here). As a Type 1 Diabetic, her very life depends on data collected from a wide variety of medical devices ‒ none of which communicate with each other.

The conference itself was co-sponsored by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). In her new role as National Coordinator (announced in December), Dr. Karen DeSalvo has already indicated that data interoperability is a top priority for the ONC ….

Please click here to read the full story at

HCI-DC 2014: Igniting an Interoperable Health Care System