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What’s ahead for health data interoperability in 2023

Health data interoperability remains a concern for providers, payers, regulators, and other stakeholders. Here’s what’s 2023 has in store.
By admin
Mar 7, 2023, 11:32 AM

Truly seamless and universal health data interoperability may still be somewhere over the horizon, but the industry is getting closer and closer to achieving its shared goals for information exchange every year. 

2023 is shaping up to be another productive period for interoperability buffs as stakeholders get more comfortable with regulations and continue to contribute to emerging standards that enable meaningful data exchange. 

As interoperability leaders prepare to convene at the 2023 ViVE Event in Nashville from March 26-29 to share their advice and experiences, here are some of the top issues they will be discussing as the industry takes its next steps toward interoperability in 2023 and beyond. 

Aggregating high-value data sources for clinical and financial analytics 

Health data makes up approximately 30 percent of all the data produced in the world, and the rate of growth is slated to dramatically outpace other key sectors, such as finance and manufacturing, in the years to come. 

With so much data available from so many different sources, identifying and aggregating the most relevant and valuable data sets to fuel analytics models can be a challenge. Stakeholders will need to find creative ways to integrate novel data from wearables and home-based devices, natural language processing, genomics, biometrics, and ambient audio tools with more traditional clinical, administrative, and financial data to create predictive and holistic portraits of patient activities. 

However, not all of these potential assets are in standardized formats. And getting data from point A to point B to feed artificial intelligence and machine learning models is a thorny proposition.   

The industry will need to tackle serious questions of data governance, integrity, provenance, privacy, and security before being able to create integrated, interoperable pipelines for maximizing the potential of these data sources. 

At ViVE, attendees will hear from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Medical Association about their approaches to addressing the challenges of interoperability during a headline session on Wednesday at 9:00 AM.   

Putting the lessons of COVID-19 to work with upgraded public health infrastructure 

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed serious flaws in the data connections between the clinical environment and the nation’s public health infrastructure. Now that urgency of the crisis is tapering off, the CDC and other public health leaders are making it a priority to improve the flow of information between key players in the healthcare ecosystem. 

In August of 2022, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky took responsibility for subpar coordination of the public health response, pointing to lackluster interoperability as one of the agency’s major concerns. Now the CDC is pushing forward on a $189 million infrastructure modernization program to strengthen interoperability within the agency and between other partners in the industry.  

Strengthening providers’ ability to participate in public health data exchange is also a top priority for the Office of the National Coordinator, which provides actionable guidance for standards-based data exchange in its annual Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) Reference Edition.   

The 2023 version notes that efforts are underway to use shared standards and implementation specifications, such as HL7 FHIR, to exchange data around hospital bed utilization, vaccination status, laboratory operations, and other key factors for responding to a crisis. 

Healthcare organizations have an opportunity in 2023 to invest in standards-based public health data exchange to prepare for future emergencies at the local, national and global level. 

Preparing for upcoming interoperability regulations 

After getting off to a rocky start with price transparency regulations in 2022, payers and providers will need to up their game on interoperability as more new guidelines enter into view.  

For example, in calendar year 2023, providers participating in the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program will need to be using certified EHR technology that has been updated to meet 2015 Edition Cures Update criteria. These EHR tools must include features enabling electronic case transmitting to public health agencies, the capability for patients to view, download, and transmit their data to third parties, and the ability to enable transitions of care after a qualifying event. 

On the payer side, health plans must prepare for enhanced requirements around prior authorizations and get ready to implement application programming interfaces (APIs) to support data exchange between plans and their members, as well as plans and their contracted providers.   

At ViVE 2023, National Coordinator Micky Tripathi will be on hand to review the past year’s milestones, update attendees on the latest interoperability developments at the ONC and share his advice for making 2023 a banner year for progress with meaningful health information exchange. 

As the interoperability landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, register for ViVE 2023 today to join thousands of health IT leaders and interoperability experts working together to achieve better results for patients, clinicians, health plans, and the industry at large. 

Jennifer Bresnick is a journalist and freelance content creator with a decade of experience in the health IT industry.  Her work has focused on leveraging innovative technology tools to create value, improve health equity, and achieve the promises of the learning health system.  She can be reached at jennifer@inklesscreative.com.

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