Interoperability Key to Health Care IT Success
Two organizations said the government's approach to health care IT provides regulators an opportunity to adapt its health IT certification program.The biggest gains to patient safety could be obtained by retooling Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) certification program to require more rigorous interoperability testing, according to comments jointly released by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS). The comments were in response to the tri-agency Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) health IT report, which contained a proposed strategy and recommendations on an appropriate, risk-based regulatory framework for health IT, including medical mobile applications. The two organizations said they felt the government's proposed approach to regulating health care IT provides federal regulators an opportunity to adapt its health information technology certification program to focus on the twin goals of improving patient safety and interoperability. "Designing a certification program that more closely resembles the software development lifecycle would have a tremendously positive impact on both interoperability and patient safety," Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME, said in a statement. "The single biggest action federal regulators could take to improve patient safety is to identify clear standards and require strict adherence to those standards. We think certification is the lever and now is the time to re-evaluate what is working and what is not."
Among the recommendations was ensuring that providers have an open pathway to report technology failures with implications for patient safety before such failures inflict patient harm.