A New Framework for Interoperability Performance - Cover

A New Framework for Interoperability Performance

Last November marked a significant milestone for providers, vendors, and KLAS alike as we all convened for our sixth annual interoperability summit.

The summit was unique not only because it was completely virtual but also because a new interoperability framework was presented to accurately measure vendor performance. This framework was created by a provider steering committee affectionately dubbed The Fab Five.

The framework is composed of five pillars of interoperability, as outlined in our Interoperability Summit 2020 Whitepaper:


a new framework for interoperability performance interoperability summit whitepaper five pillars of interoperability vendor measurement


1. Adoption

The first pillar, called Breadth of Adoption, measures the expansiveness of a vendor’s interoperability successes with their customer base. While many vendors support interoperability, the framework will provide visibility into the breadth of customers that have adopted and leveraged the connections and functionality needed to drive interoperability.

2. Satisfaction

The second pillar is entitled Overall Interoperability Satisfaction. This pillar measures not only the overall satisfaction of interoperability customers but also the clinician satisfaction and the success of specific use cases.

3. Outcomes

The third pillar, referred to as Vendor-Enabling Interoperability Outcomes, asks the all-important, culminating question of whether the interoperability network has actually improved patient care. Ultimately, the work of improving interoperability carries no importance unless it drives significant advancements in patient care.

4. Connectivity

The fourth pillar is named Connectivity for Health Information Sharing. This pillar measures how well the vendor has managed to facilitate the connections necessary for sending and receiving data. Has the vendor connected their system to an HIE? How easy is it to create point-to-point interfaces? Does the system leverage FHIR APIs? The technical aspects of interoperability are measured here to determine how well a vendor has laid the pipes for a seamless connection.  

5. Utility

The final pillar, called Utility for Stakeholders/Partners, measures the usability of the incoming data and how seamlessly it fits into the clinician’s workflow. Is the data clear and accurate? Can providers access labs easily? Is the data clean and easy to find? While connections may be in place, without data utility, those connections would be there for nothing.

The 2020 Interoperability Summit

The truth of the matter is no single vendor is leading the interoperability charge. Each vendor has different strengths. The goal behind creating the interoperability framework was to make important distinctions. We wanted to offer a holistic look at the needs of providers and how well vendors are supporting their interoperability goals. We also wanted to expand our look at interoperability so that we could measure not only EHRs but also any other software applications.

The goal of the summit was to refine this framework and get actionable feedback from providers and vendors who struggle to send and receive data. In various breakout groups, we met together to go over the framework with a fine-tooth comb.

Our initial focus was on the last two pillars of the interoperability framework: connectivity and utility. After all, these areas contain a lot of opportunities. However, the voices of providers rang loud and clear in the assertion that outcomes are supremely important. After all, if we aren’t improving the quality of patient care, then why does interoperability matter?

As our discussions progressed, other themes emerged. In the area of connectivity, security was noted as a top concern. Participants also noted the importance of data that complies with United States Core Data for Interoperability and Common Clinical Data Set standards.

In the area of usability, many participants stressed the presentation of data and the importance of timely data. Gaps were identified, such as the need to expand the utility of these networks beyond the use of physicians to nurses and other levels of care, the use of SDOH, and a better focus on both payer and provider roles.

At the end of the summit, we presented this feedback within the context of the interoperability framework. We are very grateful to all who participated.

Moving Forward

We left that day with newfound determination and clarity to implement participants’ feedback into the new interoperability framework and to continue to refine it. The 2020 Interoperability Summit marked a new beginning. A future of exciting research is under way, and providers have set the bar. The ball is in the KLAS court now, and we intend to follow through. Look for our future reports.

Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, elenabsl