Data Interoperability is Here: Threat or Opportunity? It’s Your Choice!

Physicians and health plans will soon be sharing data electronically with patients and each other

By Shawna Bertalot, CIC, ACI – WisMed Assure President

They say point of view is everything. Especially when it comes to your success as a physician in an environment of rapid, relentless and disruptive technological change.

In the past decade, the implementation of EHR in most hospitals and medical systems has changed how you do your job. From one point of view, the administrative burden has been crushing, from another, realizing the promise of immediate access to accurate patient records has been well worth the struggle.

You could say healthcare as a whole, thanks to EHR and other data sources, no longer has a patient data problem. Now, again depending on your point of view, you might say healthcare has a data interoperability problem. That is certainly the view taken by CMS as it prepares to take its Blue Button 2.0 to the next phase; health plans and providers will soon be required by federal law to share data electronically with each other and with patients.

But, what is your point of view? Think about the implications for you, your practice, and/or the healthcare provider you work for as Blue Button 2.0 provides “… a developer-friendly, standards-based data Application Programming Interface (API) that enables beneficiaries to connect their Medicare claims data to the applications, services, and research programs they trust.”

From my point of view, the one word that stands out in this quote from the CMS website is “trust”. I believe, and I am certain the vast majority of physicians and other healthcare providers and leaders also believe, that trust is the essential ingredient in the provider/patient relationship.

Will that essential bond of trust be strengthened or weakened when patients have access to all their medical data on their smart phones? What will happen to that trust when developers create apps that enable patients to compare costs and care outcomes across the entire spectrum of options available to them? Who will patients trust well enough to give permission to access their data?

During a webinar presented by OnRamp Healthcare and Onyx Health titled “CMS Blue Button: Physician scoring – kick start your awareness”, Mark Scrimshire, Onyx Chief Interoperability Officer, said, “Consumers will have control of their data and therefor their healthcare – there is nothing to stop them from giving their data to an organization that has the goal of determining the actual cost of care.”

He also said, “If you don’t get in the game, you won’t be in the business.”

That’s one point of view. Here’s another; as value-based care plays an ever-larger role in how you are paid, interoperability will allow you to query health plans quickly and easily for patient coverage data and the information you need to provide the best care possible.

One thing is for sure; the more you know about Blue Button 2.0 and the impact it will have on your ability to succeed in your career, the better off you will be. To get the jump on this, to “get in the game”, make sure you plan to attend this year’s OnRamp Healthcare virtual conference on August 19th. See the article below for more information and to register.

Other information sources for you to explore include:
CMS Blue Button 2.0
U.S. Digital Service
Patient Info on
Onyx Health – Blue Button developer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *