Society Leaders Tackle the Interoperability Riddle

August 15, 2019
Policy Snapshot

One of the biggest complaints in today’s digital world is that it has not extended into the health care world. While many hospitals and physician offices have adopted some type of electronic medical record, and there is no shortage of new companies popping up every day, the world of interoperable data exchange still is elusive. In the post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) world, things are even more challenging given that they were left out of the major funding source that spurred the adoption of Health IT in the sector.  Even with the proliferation of Health IT, much of it remains in closed systems where one setting does not talk to the next, making its impact on health care delivery questionable at best.

Hoping to solve that problem, several Society leaders are leading a project to develop data standards to spur the exchange of such information.  Steven Buslovich, MD, MS; Dheeraj Mahajan, MD, FACP, CMD; and Terry O’Malley, MD, CMD, are all working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under a contract with the MITRE Corporation on the PACIO Project. This project is a collaborative effort to advance interoperable health data exchange between PALTC and other providers, patients, and key stakeholders across health care and to promote health data exchange in collaboration with policymakers, standards organizations, and industry through a consensus-based approach.

The primary goal of the project is to establish a framework for the development of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) technical implementation guides and reference implementations that will facilitate health data exchange through standards-based use case-driven application programming interfaces (APIs).

Dr. Mahajan is currently a co-lead in helping to define data standards for transitional data on functional status and Dr. Buslovich is leading a similar group addressing cognitive function. Both groups are using the recently developed CMS Data Element Library (DEL) as the basis for their work.

The PACIO Project is open to anyone who wishes to get involved. Click here for more information.