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Upon hearing the announcement that the Meaningful Use 2 reporting deadline has been extended, it is interesting to reflect on how the Meaningful Use stages continue to evolve.
Currently, Meaningful Use Stage 3 criteria focuses on: improving efficiency, quality and safety, decision support, patient access to self-management tools, access to comprehensive patient data centered through HIE, as well as the goal of improving population health.
In order to assist with interoperability, the JASON Task Force, a federal task force, recently recommended that the final stage of Meaningful Use, Stage 3, be used to focus on cases of interoperability.
More specifically, the JASON Task Force, recommended the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, should switch gears with Meaningful Use to focus solely on interoperability through use of the FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) standard under HL7, and the use of public application programming interfaces (APIs), reports Healthcare Informatics.
This recommendation was given because of lack of interoperability among electronic health records. The task forces believed that Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources are currently the best candidate API approach to data-level access to healthcare data.
Upon the announcement of JASON Task Force’s recommendations, some health industry groups expressed optimism, reported Fierce Health IT.
A HL7 interface engine is an engine built specifically for the healthcare industry, by connecting legacy systems by using a standard messaging protocol.
These engines are beneficial as they can realize the benefits of existing information systems without needing major re-investment in new technologies. They work by monitoring different types of interfaces and communication points, performing actions according to rules defined by the organization.
More specifically speaking, it allows data to flow through information technology, from every piece of equipment or medical system into a network.
HL7 can help improve healthcare delivery by optimizing workflows, reducing ambiguity and enhancing knowledge transfer between providers, organizations, vendors, patients, among others.
As the amount of data healthcare organizations are collecting continues to grow, HL7 messaging protocols are growing in importance for the data mining process.
Definitive Healthcare’s hospital database currently tracks 2,543 instances of interface engines being utilized by hospitals.
The total healthcare integration market is predicted to reach about $2.75 billion by 2018, an almost 10% compound annual growth rate from $1.74 billion last year, according to Markets and Markets. This market includes integration engines, services, and device integration platforms.
As we move closer to Stage 3 of Meaningful Use, it will be interesting to see if and how these recommendations are put into effect, as well as how our concerns of interoperability has improved.