Although nearly all non-federal acute care hospitals have already upgraded to 2015 Health IT Certification Criteria, or plan to upgrade, the majority of these organizations are still not engaging in all four components of interoperability, according to a blog post from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).
The 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria includes new technical capabilities (such as APIs) that were not required as part of the prior 2014 Edition. ONC’s analysis of 2017 data from the American Hospital Association’s (AHA’s) Information Technology Supplement Survey indeed reveals that 93 percent of non-federal acute care hospitals have already upgraded to the 2015 Edition or plan to upgrade.
But when it comes to what the health IT agency classifies as the four domains of interoperability—electronically finding, sending, receiving, and integrating data from outside one’s own organization—just 41 percent of hospitals reported that they were able to engage in all four functions in 2017. However, the number of organizations that have reported performing all four interoperability domains continues to increase each year. In 2014, just 23 percent of hospitals reported engaging in all four; in 2015, 26 percent; in 2016, 26 percent; and in 2017, 29 percent.
The analysis revealed that most hospitals can electronically send patient summary of care records (88 percent) and receive such records from outside sources (74 percent). Also in the past year, hospitals that reported they can query or integrate this data significantly increased, from 41 percent in 2016 to 53 percent in 2017.
National Coordinator for Health IT, Donald Rucker, M.D., noted that although “this growth is impressive, important work remains, as only four-in-ten hospitals reported they can find patient health information as well as send, receive, and integrate patient summary of care records from sources outside their health system.”
The blog post added, “Engaging in all four interoperability domains is critical to ensuring that clinicians have information they need at the point of care. In 2017, 83 percent of hospitals that could send, receive, find, and integrate outside information also reported having information electronically available at the point of care. This is at least 20 percent higher than hospitals that engage in three domains and almost seven times higher than hospitals that don’t engage in any domain.”