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Marc Probst calls for government healthcare interoperability standards

PHOENIX -- Intermountain Healthcare CIO Marc Probst has been one of the most outspoken proponents of the federal government mandating healthcare interoperability standards.

Probst, also vice president of the big Utah-based healthcare system, was board chairman of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives in 2016; during his tenure in the CHIME post he kept up his push for healthcare interoperability standards.

In this video recorded at the CHIME16 Fall CIO Forum in November 2016, Probst asserts that the lack of standardization of health data interoperability protocols -- which he has maintained could be remedied by legislation -- is both dangerous and costly.

Hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost every year, billions of dollars are being lost every year because we don't have these standards in place.
Marc ProbstVice president and CIO, Intermountain Healthcare

"Hundreds of thousands of lives are being lost every year, billions of dollars are being lost every year because we don't have these standards in place," Probst says in the video.

Probst also notes that CHIME is still campaigning for a national patient identifier that would match individual patients with a unique identifying code and help providers exchange health data in the absence of national healthcare interoperability standards.

While previous efforts to establish a national patient identifying system have failed or stalled, Probst says the CHIME bill that would help establish such a system has momentum.

Also in the video, Probst ranks what he thinks will be the top three technology issues for healthcare CIO in 2017.

They are:

  • Developing a "definition" of what direction health IT is going in, whether it's consumerization of healthcare or population health, to cite two examples. These issues are "not well defined, but they're going to require massive amounts of technology," Probst says.
  • Cybersecurity has been on everyone's mind and is a "massive responsibility" for CIOs, Probst says.
  • Developing and using knowledge-based, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence-backed learning systems. These "are going to change analytics, I think, within three years, and it's clearly going to change what we're doing in computing over the next 10," Probst says. "Things won't look the same."
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How has the lack of national interoperability standards affected your healthcare organization?