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ONC, West Health Institute spell out need for IT interoperability

March 26, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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The Gary and Mary West Health Institute in San Diego and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) in Washington, D.C., have released a white paper emphasizing the need for more interoperability within the healthcare system.

The white paper features a 10-page executive summary and provides guidance on how all stakeholders--including acute care, post-acute care, payers, clinicians, regulatory agencies and technology vendors--can drive interoperability efforts.

As part of this call to action, the white paper's recommendations include that all stakeholders advocate for rapid change, especially by accelerating the full adoption of open standards. The document also urges all healthcare players to ensure validity, privacy and security of data; reduce technical complexity; and develop new ways to use data streams to improve patient health. 

In announcing the release of the white paper, Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for Health IT said, "ONC envisions an information-rich, consumer-centered healthcare system that allows a patient's health information to follow them wherever they get their care. 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."