The discussion took place at NJ-HITEC in Newark, NJ, with Karen DeSalvo, MD, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, who oversees ONC (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). DeSalvo confirmed that her office is revising the federal HIT strategy and is looking to have a document available for public comment in fall 2014. In this interest, DeSalvo’s team sought input from organizations leading health information exchange in Southeastern PA and New Jersey.
The meeting began with priority setting for future HIE services. Attendees agreed that a “person-centered” architecture for health IT would mean that data follows patients in the future, regardless of their location in the region. Interoperability was identified as a key issue, to ensure that health systems are able to connect with one another and with new entities, so that no clinical centers are not left behind as the health system moves forward with clinical record digitization and transfer.
Louis Hermans, Executive Director for Jersey Health Connect, presented a three-year sustainability model for the three largest HIE’s in New Jersey. Highlights included the addition of a large number of long-term care facilities and hospitals, and addressing barriers such as the costs associated with connectivity.
HSX, NJ-HITEC, and ONC attendees concurred on the tremendous potential value of health information exchange to doctors, patients, payers, and the healthcare system in general. Standardization and consensus will eventually make data available for critical clinical decisions both at the individual level and the population health level. The meeting concluded with agreement that the three key areas of incentive, infrastructure, and information needed to be revised for the development of a more person-centered architecture for health IT.