One (Easy) Step to Interoperability

President Barack Obama and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

In February, the Obama administration announced that various healthcare stake holders had pledged to help advance the interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs).

Sylvia Matthews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said the following: “We are working to unlock health care data and information so that providers are better informed and patients and families can access their health care information, making them empowered, active participants in their own care.”

But how do we actually get there?

The Interoperability Pledge

There are 17 health IT developers that provide EHR systems and 16 healthcare systems, including John Hopkins Medicine and Kaiser Permanente, that have made the pledge, but now what?

The Coordinator for Health IT created an interoperability 10- year roadmap, but now what?

Current health care systems operate within silos. However, as patients take more control of their healthcare, they are in greater need of their medical records. Whether sending them to a new provider or getting a second opinion, they want access and they want it quickly.

The U.S. healthcare system is only partially down this long road to true interoperability, and we must keep the focus on what is most important, the patient.

In the world of radiology in particular, we have come far in regards to interoperability. With today’s mostly digital data, we aren’t forcing patients to drag film and CDs to their referring physician or surgeon. Today most imaging facilities use a cloud-based system, such as an Enterprise Imaging Solution or VNA, or a digital system, like the PACS we all know so well.

One Easy Step… the VNA

A VNA is the true solution to your Interoperability road blocks. A VNA, in its most pure form, stores all DICOM and non-DICOM data so that it can all be easily shared in and outside your network of facilities and hospitals. It enables patients to send their images easily for a second opinion (or for whatever purpose) and you don’t have to deal with those pesky “migration headaches.”

As a facility, this will put you ahead of the interoperability initiative. Your work is all but done. For more information concerning the capabilities of a VNA please click here. Visit us today at to take your first step toward interoperability.

This post was written by Allie Robinson, a business policy analyst with Novarad. 

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