Micky Tripathi Charts a Course to the Next Interoperability Milestone

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Micky Tripathi was supposed to be a doctor. His mother was a doctor. His father was a doctor. And yes, even his grandfather was a doctor. But what Tripathi ended up doing didn’t stray too far from his early pre-med ambitions.

“There was a big push to become a doctor,” says Tripathi. “In college, I decided that wasn’t for me.” Tripathi charted his own course to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and in his role as the National Coordinator for Health IT, Tripathi is responsible for advancing the exchange of health information nationwide.

Hear how Tripathi is helping the nation progress toward the next phase of interoperability. And check out a few key takeaways from the podcast below.

With Surescripts Chief Marketing Officer Melanie Marcus, Tripathi talks about the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), how thoughtful software design can address health equity, and why he believes that today is a pivotal moment in healthcare.

Interoperability takes public-private partnership

As Marcus says, creating a unified national clinical interoperability network has been part of ONC's vision since 2004, and in 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act directed ONC to create the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, or TEFCA. “Where are we with TEFCA,” Marcus asks, “and what’s next?”

“I think we’re in a really good place,” Tripathi says. “Interoperability has made a lot more progress than the industry gets credit for.” But there are still gaps, he says, and some gaps are difficult to close without partnership between the federal government and private industry.

Health equity by design

“How do we consistently and reliably catch information that would allow us to identify health inequities?” Tripathi asks, referring to basic demographic information like race, ethnicity and language.

This requires design thinking at the level of software and processes and workflows—not after these are built and implemented and in end users’ hands, but as they are designed and created.

Health equity must be baked into the recipe at the start.

A pivotal moment in healthcare

“There’s incredible opportunity to do really meaningful things,” Tripathi says, now that we’ve laid the foundation for digital infrastructure, from e-prescribing to electronic health records (EHRs) to improvements in medical science itself.

What we should do now is steer toward our higher-level ambitions, like incorporating payers into the nationwide exchange framework, and looking for ways to support public health needs.

Go deeper on building nationwide interoperability with ONC National Coordinator for Health IT Micky Tripathi on our podcast.

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