Coming Together to Solve Interoperability Challenges - Cover

Coming Together to Solve Interoperability Challenges

Years ago, when the healthcare IT industry was beginning to mature, interoperability was hardly even a concept. These days, it is essential. The government requires it; our clinicians and patients expect it. However, in our complex US healthcare system teeming with competing vendors and providers, it is challenging to aggregate and make sense of our varied sources of medical information.

We can’t be perfect, but we must do better. That is why KLAS holds an interoperability summit nearly every year and invites vendors, providers, government representatives, and others to come together and assess the state of the interoperability industry and hold ourselves accountable for measured progress.

Respectful Engagement Between Competitors

As a member of the KLAS Interoperability Measurement Advisory Team, I had the chance to cohost the KLAS Interoperability Summit this year, held in Snowbird, Utah from February 7–8. It was amazing to come together and listen to one another, hear the diversity of perspectives from all who attended, and collaborate to advance this very challenging issue in healthcare. Vendors and providers alike set aside their differences and engaged with one another respectfully to solve interoperability challenges.

For a large portion of the conference, we broke into small groups. KLAS has found that method effective because it allows more people to engage and add proper perspective. It also allows us to shift the conversation without shifting people.

Forging New Industry Domains

We added critical new domains to the interoperability measurement framework: patient engagement, population health, and post–acute care. We delved deeply into these new topics and considered their trading partner implications for information sharing. The summit’s goal was to get a complete picture of the ever-expanding role of interoperability in the healthcare industry from the perspectives of all parties involved, and I believe we accomplished that goal nicely.

After our last interoperability summit, KLAS published a white paper about the discussion on our website. This year, we intend to do so again. That white paper is designed to share the directional intent of the participants and let the industry know that interoperability remains a high priority and that we are making progress. The summit and white paper summarize directional updates to our measurement framework for KLAS’ interoperability research. The industry is constantly moving, and we have to stay ahead. Keep an eye out for the 2021 Interoperability Summit white paper as it will be published in late March or early April.

KLAS’ Strategy for Moving the Interoperability Market

We have learned that people collaborate in a very constructive way if they have a baseline to work with. People are sometimes excellent editors but not always excellent original creators. We go to a handful of interoperability leaders to be the creators of the added questions because they will often take things 80% of the way. But then using our conference attendees, we build consensus for the next iteration of our survey.

We use this understanding to formulate our questions methodology for the summit. Then it goes into test mode. We test out the questions with a handful of people, then we take it industry wide. At the close of such a conference, we come away not with the end product but hopefully with the knowledge to test the framework we have built and augment it through our market research.

Measurement works; we are making progress. By the time our next interoperability summit rolls around, I want us to be even bolder and more ambitious with the ecosystems we are measuring. I want us to go even deeper into consumer engagement and potentially into the digital space. Access to standardized, high-quality, interoperable healthcare data will be one of the most critical aspects of how healthcare moves forward as an industry. KLAS is working hard to be a part of that progress.

Photo Credit: kasto, Adobe Stock