Remembering That Interoperability Policy Is Still Personal

As we work to advance interoperability and data sharing across the nation, we should remember that our ultimate goal is to help people live healthier lives

This has been another important year in the work of building health data networks in the U.S. as the urgency of the pandemic has carried us more swiftly to the final miles of interoperability.  Medicaid transformation efforts that rely on the exchange and aggregation of accurate, timely health data are being implemented in numerous states. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) launched the Trusted Exchange Framework, Common Agreement (TEFCA.) And health information exchanges (HIEs) across the country are increasingly serving as health data utilities — collecting, refining, and delivering crucial public health data, including nuanced racial demographics, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity data, needed to make real gains in health equity.

Here in California, our nonprofit health information organizations are especially important to those working to eliminate health disparities and close the digital divide — both for individuals and for the small, rural, and Medi-Cal providers who don’t have the technology or resources to share quality data. For example, the department of public health in San Bernardino County, the largest geographic county in the nation, is making significant progress in reducing the rates of congenital syphilis (skyrocketing in California and elsewhere) by using HIE data provided by Manifest MedEx to alert and connect public health nurses to pregnant patients with syphilis when they are admitted to hospitals so they can provide testing and treatment to prevent terrible, and sometimes fatal, outcomes for their babies. These low-cost, high-impact public health moments, driven by timely and accurate data, are exactly where our healthcare future should be headed.

Read the article by Erica Galvez, CEO, Manifest MedEx, published in Healthcare Innovation.