- Providers at more than 200 U.S. hospitals and 3,000 clinics can now share patient health information even though they use different EHR vendors, thanks for the Carequality Interoperability Framework, The Sequoia Project collaborative announced this week.
- The hospitals and clinics use EHR software and services from athenahealth, eClinicalWorks, Epic, HIETexas, NextGen and SureScripts, which have agreed to the information exchange.
- The Carequality Interoperability Framework, published in December, provides the necessary legal and policy requirements, technical specifications, and governance processes to enable interoperability among different health systems.
Under the framework, providers can share data quickly and easily through a single agreement, avoiding time and costs to negotiate individual agreements with other organizations.
Since its release, 13 healthcare organizations have adopted the framework, although Carequality member Cerner is not one of them.
As hospitals and health systems become more wired with EHRs and other health IT technologies, interoperability has remained a challenge. For one thing, different medical device and health IT manufacturers each have their own proprietary interface technology, so there’s no way to connect the disparate parts. Interoperability has also been hampered by the lack of an overarching architecture and standards.
The federal government has been working to improve interoperability as well. Last October, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released its final roadmap on interoperability, with the aim of making the U.S. healthcare system fully interoperable by 2025. In January the Food and Drug Administration issued draft guidance on design for manufacturers of medical devices.