Interoperability Leading to Health Information Exchange
In an open letter to the Department of Health and Human Services in September 2014, HIMSS emphasized the need to focus on three key policy levers, one of which was interoperability leading to secure electronic exchange of health information. This goal is essential to enabling all individuals, their families, and their health care providers to have appropriate access to health information that facilitates informed decision-making, supports achieve coordinated health management, allows patients to be active partners in their health and care, and improves the overall health of our population
Interoperability in American History
Healthcare isn't the first industry that has faced the imperative for interoperable systems. American railroads were initially built to serve specific cities and their surrounding areas, with little thought to eventually connecting one to another. By the 1870s there were more than 20 different railroad gauges used across the country, making it impossible for trains to move from one area to the next. It wasn't until a common standard was established, and all railroad systems adapted to match this standard, that cross-continental travel and shipping could be achieved.
In much the same way, the world has seen rapid growth in the sharing of electronic health information within individual health systems and organizations in recent years, but the standards used by one system cannot translate information to or from those used by other systems. Until a common set of standards is accepted and implemented across all healthcare settings, electronic health information cannot cross from one system to the next.
Visit the HIMSS Health Information Exchange (HIE) website to learn more about the electronic exchange of health-related data, as well as ongoing efforts to realize a fully integrated healthcare system.
ONC HIT Dashboard
The Health IT Dashboard from ONC provides data visualizations for you to interact with open health IT data.
ONC Interoperability Proving Ground
The Interoperability Proving Ground (IPG) is an open, community platform where you can share, learn, and be inspired by interoperability projects occurring in the United States (and around the world).
ONC HIT Playbook
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) developed this 1st edition of the Health IT Playbook to answer many of the questions that providers ask when implementing and using health IT.
Interactive Map of SHIEC Members
An interactive map of SHIEC member Health Information Exchanges including contact information