A coalition of major hospital groups, led by the American Hospital Association, is making the case that improved information sharing is imperative to improving health outcomes.
The rise of technology has objectively changed the medical field in recent years—and it’s created a need for increased levels of information sharing between facilities, software, and medical professionals.
It’s with all that information sharing in mind that the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), and a number of other medical groups are calling for an increase in interoperability between data sharing mechanisms in the healthcare space.
In their new report Sharing Data, Saving Lives: The Hospital Agenda for Interoperability, the groups make the case that improved interoperability could boost medical outcomes, but barriers still exist—including a lack of compatible technology (cited by 63 percent of respondents surveyed in a 2017 AHA study) and exchange challenges between vendor platforms (cited by 57 percent of respondents).
Despite this, there’s plenty of room for medical facilities to improve things—and they’ve had success with similar issues in the past. As noted by an AHA infographic [PDF], the ability to view health records online was only possible 27 percent of the time in 2012, but after a significant improvement seen in 2014, now that ability is available 93 percent of the time.
The report [PDF] lays out seven different “pathways to interoperability.” Among them: improved security, better standards, improved best practices, and a move to expand interoperability beyond electronic health records. It also offers suggestions as to how different stakeholders, from insurers to medical device companies, can help streamline this process.
“Together, we seek to enlist and expand public and private stakeholder support around this goal to benefit all individuals, their families and caregivers,” the report states.
In comments regarding the issue, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack evoked consumer offerings to highlight the sheer power of interoperability.
“We see interoperability in action all around us. Mobile phones can call each other regardless of make, model, or operating system,” Pollack explained in a news release. “The hospital field has made good headway, but it’s time to complete the job.”
Beyond AHA and FAH, other groups taking part in the collaboration include America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare.