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New Healthcare Interoperability Center Opens in Tennessee

A new center for healthcare interoperability has opened its doors to health IT professionals in an effort to improve seamless health data exchange industry-wide.

New interoperability center opens.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- In a sizable step toward interoperability advancement, the Center for Medical Interoperability yesterday opened its headquarters in Nashville as a testing and certification laboratory devoted entirely to promoting seamless health data exchange across healthcare.

The Tennessee facility will function as a research and development center for health IT experts and engineers to collaborate on health IT infrastructure innovations ranging from application programming interfaces (APIs) to new specifications improving industry-wide standardization.

“The opening of the headquarters and launch of the lab are enormous steps toward addressing the
difficulties that health systems share in getting medical devices and electronic health records to ‘talk’
to each other,” said Center for Medical Interoperability Board Chair Mike Schatzlein, MD.

“All too often, this prevents physicians and other caregivers from having complete information about a patient readily available when they make important treatment decisions,” he continued. “Enabling this type of seamless communication is crucial to improving patient safety and reducing clinician burnout.”

Having convenient and timely access to clinical information is crucial to avoiding medical errors in care delivery and reducing the potential for patient harm. With improved interoperability, researchers intend to boost provider-to-provider communication in a way that promotes safe high-quality patient care.

Members invested in the center’s future projects and research include health systems and healthcare organizations such as Ascension Health, Cedars-Sinai Health System, Hospital Corporation of America, UNC Health Care System, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to name a few.

With so much emphasis on fully implementing EHR technology into all healthcare facilities across inpatient, ambulatory, post-acute care, and home health settings, ensuring industry-wide standardization and seamless health data exchange keeps are requisite components of new and emerging technologies is imperative to maintaining an accessible, open, and efficient data-driven digital healthcare landscape.

The research lab will focus on developing software and devices fulfilling the latest industry standards. The Transformation Learning Center will seek to develop and test solutions for improving patient safety, usability, and patient satisfaction to enable providers to have access to dependable technology designed to deliver optimal health outcomes.

The center maintains a vender-neutral stance regarding the development of new software and technology. Researchers will prioritize keeping the focus on efficient, real-time patient-centered care as well as developing scalable solutions.

The launch of the center aligns with other recent developments across healthcare such as, the Regenstrief Institute’s announcement last month of a commitment to support health data standardization through the establishment of a chair honoring the institute’s contributions to health data exchange.

Regenstrief’s Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) standards have had a notable impact on interoperability in healthcare by providing the industry with data standards in a universal code system. As the most commonly used code system worldwide, LOINC includes more than 80,000 clinical and laboratory test codes in use in 172 countries for medical test result identification, observations, and other clinical measures.

In the same vein, the Center for Medical Interoperability intends to accelerate healthcare interoperability to promote efficient communication and data exchange among providers.

As a main focus among providers, physicians, and policymakers alike, interoperability will become an increasingly crucial facet of healthcare in the transition from volume- to value-based care already underway as part of the Quality Payment Program under MACRA.

Ensuring patient health information is accurate and transmittable between providers and facilities is crucial to delivering quality patient care. The new center offers another testing ground for healthcare and health IT professionals to collaborate on solutions to business problems stemming from the inability to move data between systems reliably.



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