Health IT is just beginning to show success in the exchange of health information, but clarity, standards and practical solutions remain as the major issues standing in the way of interoperability, said National Coordinator for HIT Karen DeSalvo, M.D., during the closing keynote at HIMSS15.

Through feedback to ONC’s proposed roadmap to interoperability and DeSalvo’s national listening tour, ONC has listened and sought practical solutions, she said. But to get to interoperability as quickly as possible, DeSalvo said the following must be achieved:

*Establishing standards, including APIs;

*Achieving clarity on the trust environment, with “shared expectations found around data security and privacy;” and

*Understanding how incentives will apply to the use to of electronic health records.

Also See: Info Blocking Gains Prominence as Interoperability Challenge

DeSalvo said ONC will use the “impactful and most powerful tools in our toolbox” to get the industry where it needs to be in achieving interoperability. “We are committed to leveraging not only Meaningful Use but other payment rules and other federal programs to incentivize the use of those standards and that trust environment,” she explained. To ONC, interoperability is a “priority, but only a means to an end…Moving toward a world where health IT is a key enabler to better care and better health for all.”

That work will progress as a result of the public and private sectors working together, she noted. Referencing ONC’s strategic planning document, she added, “You asked for a plan on interoperability and the learning health system, and we delivered on it.”

DeSalvo remains optimistic on interoperability, and turned to the health IT professionals in attendance for help. “Together, we can achieve our vision. We are in reach of every American having access to their health records, when and where it matters.”

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