Interoperability

KLAS Keystone Summit—United Nations or Continental Congress?

Getting 12 competitive EMR vendor executives in the same room at the same time was, in and of itself, a miracle. Having them agree on an interoperability measurement tool was a second miracle. And having them embrace an actual, transparent measurement of the current state and trajectory of interoperability in order to stave off unneeded and ill-advised government intervention, thereby allowing the private sector to self-manage, would be a third miracle. Will the new interoperability measurement be a dead end or a collaboration of powerful competitors that makes a big difference?

Marc Probst, CIO at Intermountain Healthcare, referred to the Summit outcome as impressive, yet potentially similar to the United Nations. I agree with his assessment of this possible outcome, seeing the UN as an august body with great intentions that fails to achieve much of anything. The description and concern remind me of when in 1997, as the first member of the KLAS team gathering vendor performance metrics, I received a letter from a good friend and former boss, Larry Grandia (also an Intermountain Healthcare CIO), admiring my intention to do good while cautioning that KLAS would likely not succeed in measuring IT vendors. That was certainly one possibility that I am so grateful did not occur. 

The other possible Summit outcome would be the third miracle. I am confident there is room in this industry for vendors to collaborate and do good by thinking outside the box, working with each other, and truly breaking down the barriers to sharing patient records. I see the KLAS Keystone Summit—led by Micky Tripathi, Stan Huff, MD, Daniel Nigrin, MD, and John Halamka, MD, and attended by 12 competitive vendors and 36 provider executives—as more like the Continental Congress, a conglomeration of mini-nations that didn’t like each other in many cases but were willing to collaborate in the interest of the whole. A miracle was born, and the most incredible nation in the world emerged. In a much smaller way, I see the goodness of these vendors, demonstrated in the interoperability measurement tool they shaped at the Summit, moving the needle on interoperability as they truly collaborate with each other, eliminating at an amazing pace the obstacles to sharing patient records. Let’s watch and see whether they become the UN or the Continental Congress.

Note: KLAS’ 17-year mission to measure the healthcare IT market will not change as we use the agreed-upon measurement tool in 2016. The value of the Keystone Summit will be determined by how well the vendors put aside differences for the benefit of each one of us, as we saw them do on October 1 and 2.