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Friday, January 19, 2018 12:00 PM

2017 Interoperability Round Up, and a Look Toward 2018 Priorities

Written by Rich Murphy, Product Director - iatricSystems

Interoperability 2018 blog header Jan 2018.jpg

It's always fun to take a quick look back at the prior year and see what was accomplished, but my favorite thing is looking ahead to the future, and prioritizing what we can do to help organizations meet their 2018 goals.

So, I thought I would provide a quick round-up and recap of 2017, before we look ahead to 2018.

Some key topics that were in the news in 2017 were:

1. Interoperability:

As reported by Healthcare IT News, the most surprising thing was that the biggest advances in interoperability were not necessarily made because of government regulations, rather by advances in the private sector.

We saw this trend throughout 2017 as well, as we've worked with many hospitals and CIOs taking initiative to improve interoperability between their own systems and HIEs. See one example in this video.

Read some of the other top 2017 articles by Healthcare IT News here, broken down by Most Popular Stories, Biggest Surprises, Emerging Trends in 2017, Big Changes in HIT, and much more. There was a lot to talk about in 2017!

2. EHR Optimization:

Healthcare IT News completed their annual EHR Satisfaction Survey, and it showed that the users' overall EHR satisfaction improved, with the majority of respondents ranking their EHR as 8 out of 10 for overall satisfaction.

Interoperability between systems still remained a top challenge, according to the survey, and I suspect that we will see more and more organizations addressing this in 2018.

3. Health Information Exchanges:

In 2017 we joined the Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative (SHIEC) and got to see first hand some of the challenges that are facing HIEs in serving their participating organizations.

Some challenges included: getting hospital participants to actually use the HIE;  expanding into other areas like long-term care, behavorial health etc.; general education of their participants; the lack of standards; and general challenges of working with so many EHRs to give their participants easy access to the HIE.

We've worked with some specific HIEs and hospitals to solve some of these challenges. Read more about integrating HIEs into the EHR workflow here.

Below are some of our most popular Interoperabilty posts of 2017 about these topics:

Now, on to 2018...

What lies ahead for 2018? While we've made small strides in the 3 areas I listed above, I think in 2018, you will see organizations getting very focused and making very strategic decsions about Interoperability and EHR Optimization. 

The focus will be less on the technology, and more on how the solutions can solve the challenges, make the clinician's job easier, and therefore improve patient care.

A few initiatives around improving Interopearbility have already been launched early in 2018.

I think we are going to see a continued trend of the private sector offering and solving these big challenges, and less regulations telling hosptials and HIEs how to solve interoperability challenges. From what we hear from hospitals, this is what they prefer... the ability to make the choices that best meet their specific interoperability needs.

John Halamka, M.D., CIO at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was recently interviewed by Healthcare Informatics about key Health IT topics. You can listen to the 20 minute podcast here. He echoed the idea that innovations will likely come from the private sector, and less from regulations, among many other insights. It's worth a quick listen.

One other big area of focus for 2018 will continue to be Privacy and Security. That's another big topic that deserves its own post! To read about some exciting new things in Patient Privacy that are coming in 2018, check out our Patient Privacy blog.

We look forward to sharing in 2018 how hospitals are solving all of these challenges.

I'd love to hear what your priorities are for 2018.

Happy New Year!