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Top EHR Vendors Adopt Metrics To Gauge Interoperability Progress

Written by Kaitlyn Houseman | October 21, 2015

A dozen electronic health record vendors have agreed to adopt a set of metrics and engage in ongoing reporting to help gauge the U.S. health care system's progress toward achieving interoperability, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 10/19). 

Agreement Details

The agreement, which aims to assess nationwide interoperability, was made at the KLAS Keystone Summit earlier this month. Developers and providers alike have faced criticism in recent months from members of Congress over missing links in the interoperability of electronic health-record systems despite a public investment of $31.5 billion federal dollars (Modern Healthcare, 10/19).

Recent government studies, however, based on independent survey data, indicate the exchange of health information is growing among hospitals, physicians and patients (Modern Healthcare, 10/19).

“There's pressure coming from every direction,” Tripathi said. “Pressure is coming from providers themselves, from patients, from the Congress. No one can ignore that.”

But Tripathi said this is an example of private sector problem solving. “This is actually not coming from the government at all. It's a completely private sector initiative.”

In a statement released Monday, KLAS said, "Leaders of 12 different EHR vendor companies proactively stepped forward to have an independent entity publish transparent measures of health information exchange that can serve as the basis for understanding our current position and trajectory" (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 10/20).

The metrics were developed and supported by executives at:

  • Allscripts;
  • athenahealth;
  • Cerner;
  • eClinicalWorks;
  • Epic;
  • GE Healthcare;
  • Greenway;
  • Healthland;
  • McKesson;
  • MEDHOST;
  • MEDITECH; and
  • NextGen Healthcare (KLAS release, 10/19).

Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative President and CEO Micky Tripathi, who moderated the session during which the agreement was made, said, "The idea was to get agreement to a baseline, Consumer Reports[-like way] to measure interoperability, and KLAS would be the organization to do that measure."

Tripathi said the interoperability reports will seek to obtain "hard" and "soft" information, including:

  • Data on the types of interoperability providers have achieved using specific vendors (Modern Healthcare, 10/19); and
  • Questions related to user experiences (Health Data Management, 10/20).

Stan Huff, CMIO at Intermountain Healthcare, said the reports could help:

  • Identify differences among vendors; and
  • Inform policymakers (Modern Healthcare, 10/19).

KLAS still is developing a plan to launch the new metrics and reporting system.

Vendors' Comments

Greenway Health CEO Tee Green said that "pulling down walls to unlock health data between systems" is "essential to improving care coordination and, ultimately, outcomes."

Meanwhile, Cerner said it is "committed to removing barriers to advance patient-centered interoperability" and "collaborating with our peers to connect organizations and systems, regardless of platform or provider, to achieve true, industry-wide interoperability" (Health Data Management, 10/20).