Despite steep investments in health information technology (HIT), accountable care organizations (ACOs) still face interoperability challenges that hinder their efforts to achieve better health outcomes and quality at lower costs for patients. In fact, according to survey results published by Premier and eHealth Initiative (eHI), integrating data from out-of-network providers was the top HIT challenge for 80 percent of the ACOs. Without this connectivity across the continuum, the data collected are fragmented and do not paint the total picture necessary for healthcare providers to deliver informed, coordinated care. The first step in addressing this problem is to enact policies to require interoperability standards in HIT so that providers can access data from any system and unlock the true potential of coordinated, high-quality, cost-effective healthcare. Legislation is being marked up tomorrow in the Senate Help, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that takes important steps toward breaking down barriers to interoperability.
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