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CIO: Interoperability and health data analytics intertwined

LAS VEGAS -- The full value of health data analytics is lost without the ability to share data. That's what one healthcare CIO told SearchHealthIT at the CHIME CIO Forum at HIMSS 2016.

That CIO is Andrew Rosenberg. To Rosenberg, M.D., interim CIO at the University of Michigan Health System based in Ann Arbor, interoperability and health data analytics are closely intertwined because, "frequently, the efficiency with which we can capture data [and] make it available for our own analytics gets us much closer to then being able to share [that] data or those analytics with other people," he says. "While we still pursue either commodity [or] vendor-based programs, equally we're looking for how those can then share among each other, how we can share information among each other, and analytics is a common area where those conversations occur."

Rosenberg believes that this is where open source efforts, such as SMART on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), will become valuable because they will enable healthcare organizations to share information regardless of the different products and vendors being used.

I'm frequently told that if we're using a vendor-based system, the challenge then is that it's not open. What I'm finding is that's actually not the case.
Andrew Rosenberginterim CIO at the University of Michigan Health System

However, Rosenberg shares the sentiment of many other healthcare CIOs that interoperability isn't quite there yet. But he does not believe that vendor-based systems are what are holding the industry back.

"I'm frequently told that if we're using a vendor-based system, the challenge then is that it's not open. What I'm finding is that's actually not the case," Rosenberg says. "We're trying to all work on harmonizing information semantically, but I think more and more people now have more common tools where they can start to share data ... for vendor-based systems like our EMRs [electronic medical records]."  

Other healthcare CIOs at HIMSS 2016, such as Marc Probst, CIO of Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, have also expressed the need for standards to achieve interoperability. While Rosenberg is one of those CIOs, he also thinks that healthcare organizations' priorities also have an impact.

"One of the challenges for CIOs and organizations like HIMSS and other groups can help with [is] to help continue to focus what priorities really matter: Really advanced healthcare, really add value, as opposed to just chasing different data collection efforts," Rosenberg says.

Let us know what you think about the story or share your thoughts about health data analytics; email Kristen Lee, news writer, or find her on Twitter @Kristen_Lee_34.

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