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Interoperability and thought leadership in healthcare IT

Interoperability and thought leadership in healthcare IT

Last week I attended three healthcare IT conferences in Washington, DC. The first one I went to was the ONC 2015 annual meeting at the Washington Hilton.

 Paubox - ONC 2015 annual meeting ONC 2015 -Interoperable Health IT for a Healthy Nation

It was free and well attended, with about 1,000 people there. The theme, of which I would hear in one form or another all week, was "Interoperable Health IT for a Healthy Nation."


What is Interoperability?

The term interoperability, for those not in the healthcare IT business, is another way of saying the industry is facing BIG problems getting data to talk to each other. I know what you're thinking, the consumer Internet faced this problem back in say, 1997 when Windows, Macs and NetWare couldn't talk to each other. Appletalk couldn't talk to NetBEUI, NetBEUI couldn't talk to IPX/SPX and vice versa. As we're all aware, the standard that runs the Internet, TCP/IP, quickly solved the interoperability issues of the 20th century.

Why then, does it persist in the 21st century for healthcare IT?

Thought Leadership Needed in Healthcare IT

Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas and turn ideas into reality. In my opinion, the ONC organizers need more thought leaders. For example, during a discussion in the main ballroom with a handful of past ONC National Coordinators, one of them conferenced in via Skype. As we've covered before, Skype is not HIPAA compliant. While there wasn't a chance the speaker was going to reveal his protected health information in front of a thousand people, it would have shown thought leadership to conference him in using a compliant technology.

See my tweet on it here


Paubox at ONC 2015 - Skype is Not HIPAA Compliant Skype is not HIPAA Compliant

As I would discover during the rest of my time in DC at the eHealth Initiative and the Institute for e-Health Policy conferences, the healthcare IT industry is open for improvement.


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