What is Interoperability?


Efforts towards interoperability in health care have been reinvigorated following recent mandates and strategies outlined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including the Promoting Interoperability quality measure for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

When properly designed, interoperability can drive coordinated, collaborative efforts between providers, health systems, payors, and community resources. Ultimately helping reach the Triple Aim: improving patient experience of care, improving health of populations, and reducing per capita cost of health care. To provide the holistic care necessary to improve the struggling U.S. health care system, providers need access to a comprehensive, centralized view of the patient, including medical history, past admissions, and test results.

While interoperability is simple in theory, in practice, it is much more difficult, and numerous roadblocks like security risks, data standardization, adverse incentives to hold on to data, and the need for more sophisticated data analytics must be addressed.

To succeed in value-based care, there must be a greater push toward the exchange of data. The renewed momentum towards value in health care and recent mandates could be what is needed to finally push interoperability forward. Providing all key health stakeholders with the right information, at the right time, in the right place will allow for the transformation of the health care industry and help address the significant quality and cost challenges we are currently facing.