White House Convenes Interoperability Summit

On Tuesday, December 12, the White House held a meeting focused on electronic health record (EHR) interoperability.  Hosted by Jared Kushner (Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump and Director of the White House Office of American Innovation) and Seema Verma (Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS), the meeting brought together several noted health IT experts from across the country, including two members of the HIMSS North America Board of Directors.

That the White House hosted this week’s meeting speaks to the government’s significant interest in addressing interoperability challenges and helping to push the community toward greater data exchange.  HIMSS intends to continue to reach out to CMS, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), and other government agencies, to share its thought leadership on interoperability and emphasize the points in the HIMSS Call to Action: Achieve Nationwide, Ubiquitous, Secure Electronic Exchange of Health Information.  

 The meeting provided a forum for a group discussion on potential government action on interoperability, followed by breakout working sessions that addressed specific aspects of each topic.  The workgroup session topics included:

  • Government’s role: What actions can the government take to encourage interoperability and what timeframe is realistic based on these actions and how can we accelerate that timeframe? 
  • Technical standards and authentication: What is needed for full industry support, alignment, and adoption and what approaches/technologies can be used to verify identities? 
  • Patient and physician engagement: How does the government help focus the solution to encourage participation, overcome obstacles, and address additional issues? 
  • Public/private partnership: How does the government encourage private sector innovation? Can the government help to jump start the effort with specific kinds of data? Who needs to be on board, and how does the government best engage with the broadest possible group?

The White House plans to follow-up the December 12 discussion in the coming weeks and develop a plan for next steps.