What’s the best way to measure interoperability these days? MACRA, for example, currently uses an outdated IEEE definition from 1990 that wasn’t designed for health data — or HIT systems. The ONC wants to use CIO surveys, but several industry efforts believe that approach won’t reveal the true interoperability picture.

A recent Request for Information (RFI) posted by the ONC generated a host of other suggestions:

  • Gary Dickinson, co-chair of HL7’s EHR workgroup, says it’s time to move from quantitative to qualitative mode. He would like to see EHRs programmed to audit how well data is transferred between systems and to measure what data gets lost in translation.
  • HIMSS and the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) recommend collecting interoperability data from sources beyond those required by meaningful use, such as Blue Button or Direct Messaging.
  • The DirectTrust collaborative wants to measure faxes — the baseline information exchange technology still relied on by tens of millions daily — and their rate of replacement by secure electronic exchange.

Meanwhile, after conducting more than 20,000 interviews with providers over the past few years, KLAS Research concedes that measuring interoperability is “messy.” This fall, KLAS aims to publish interoperability standards developed by an advisory team of providers and EHR vendors.

Find out more about how the government, vendors and healthcare organizations are tackling the interoperability challenge.

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