October 2016

Interoperability in Action: ONC Visits St. Louis

This week I had the pleasure of going to St. Louis, Missouri with Carequality and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) to visit healthcare clinics and a long-term care nursing facility to see real-world health data sharing. National Coordinator, Dr. Vindell Washington spent the day touring multiple sites using Carequality Interoperability Framework.

All of us in attendance, whether as hosting clinic or vendor, were thrilled to represent the progress that we’ve made in advancing interoperability. Dr. Washington was able to see real examples of interoperability, including Surescripts’ National Record Locator Service (NRLS). Patients that were visiting the clinic that day had clinical summaries that were located and exchanged through NRLS. We were also able to demonstrate the power and breadth of Surescripts’ network. Surescripts provided encounter histories by tapping into our immense pool of e-prescribing data to ensure providers knew where their patients are receiving care – anywhere across the country.

And something interesting happened as Dr. Washington was talking to one of the physicians during the demo, I spotted an elderly woman leaving an exam room. She was with another woman that I would guess was her daughter or another family member. And she was carrying a large 3-ring binder with a bold print on the front that said “DR BOOK”. Of course I can’t actually claim to know the contents of that binder. But we can all reasonably guess this binder was an interoperability tool of sorts. It was a chance encounter that brings into focus the reason we’re all working so hard to enable nationwide interoperability.

As much as I applaud the empowered patient that is taking charge of her healthcare information, I also know that binders are so easily left on the shelf in the frenzy of an emergency situation. I have heard numerous stories over the years that prove that even the most tech savvy patients do just that when it’s time to rush to the car with mom on the way to the ER.

Since launching this year, Surescripts has provided a million location summaries to our NRLS participants. In fact, we hit the million threshold on the day of this visit! That’s 21.8 million encounters for 147,000 unique providers that don’t have to live in a binder. Those of us who are partnering with Carequality know there is a lot of hard work left to do, but times are changing for the better and we couldn’t be more proud of this mission and what it means for patients in this country.

If you’re interested in joining our interoperability acceleration initiative to get free access to National Record Locator Service until 2019, please visit Surescripts.com.

ONC Site Visit - 2
L to R: ONC, Tara Dragert - Surescripts, Eric Helsher - Epic, Dr. Richard Vaughn – SSM Health, Dave Cassel - Carequality, Dr. Vindell Washington - ONC, Erica Neher – SSM Health, Muhammad Chebli – NextGen Healthcare, Jon Elwell - Kno2, Dr. Peter Schooch – SSM Health, Aisha Hasan - ONC

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