Providers, Vendors Take Up Standards on Their Own

As electronic health records (EHRs) become more widely used, some healthcare providers, and health IT vendors have had to take it upon themselves to develop common terminologies and standards.

In a recent roundtable discussion, officials from the Mayo Clinic described their own physician-led data governance activities. Their efforts have been focused around quality and regulatory measures—something officials describe as “easier” to tackle than forming internal registries and using data for evidence practice, officials said in a discussion sponsored by Health Data Management.

“Through our data governance committee, there’s a lot of work that we’ve done around knowledge management, how we store, manage, catalog all of our Mayo knowledge, and then how we deliver that in the context of patient care,” said Amy Knopp, manager of enterprise information management. “To do that, you need to be able to collect and vet your knowledge, and then annotate it in a way that you can connect it to patient data. And the patient data needs to be structured, standardized and coded so that you can bring these things together.”

Another recent example of private organizations working together to achieve consistent standards to improve interoperability among EHRs occurred at the KLAS Keystone Summit in mid-October. Twelve vendors agreed to allow KLAS, a health IT research and consulting firm, to administer an interoperability metric to measure data exchange and then report the findings on an ongoing basis. According to an announcement from KLAS, KLAS will administer the measurement/survey tool and “publish transparent measures of health information exchange that can serve as the basis for understanding our current position and trajectory.”

The vendors involved in the initial agreement include: Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Epic, GE Healthcare, Greenway, Healthland, McKesson, Meditech, Medhost, and NextGen Healthcare.

John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, told FierceEMR that the agreement will enable interoperability to be measured in two ways: transaction counting and the experience of clinicians. Meanwhile, Micky Tripathi, head of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, told the same publication that this represents the “first significant effort” by the private sector to step up and forward progress in interoperability.

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