Coalition Aims To Spur Use of API Standard, Improve Data Exchange

December 5, 2014 in News

A group of electronic health record vendors has teamed up with provider organizations to launch a new initiative designed to advance the adoption of technical standards to improve the electronic exchange of patient data among providers, Modern Healthcare reports.

Project Details

The Argonaut Project, which was launched by Health Level Seven International, consists of five EHR vendors and four provider organizations, including:

  • Athenahealth;
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center;
  • Cerner;
  • Epic Systems;
  • Intermountain Healthcare;
  • Mayo Clinic;
  • McKesson;
  • MEDITECH; and
  • Partners HealthCare.

Founding members also include the Advisory Board Company, a health care consulting and technology firm, and SMART, Boston Children’s Hospital Informatics Program’s federally funded mobile application development project.

The Advisory Board Company produces iHealthBeat for the California HealthCare Foundation (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 12/4).

The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative will serve as the project manager (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 12/5).

The coalition formed after an Oct. 15 presentation by JASON, an independent group of scientists that advises the federal government on issues pertaining to science and technology, to a joint federal health IT advisory committee. In a report, JASON had called for boosting EHR interoperability by requiring a public application programming interface, such HL7′s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (Pittman, Politico Pro, 12/4).

Under the new coalition, the groups will focus on HL7′s FHIR and work to accelerate the development of an API standard to improve clinical information exchange and interoperability for EHRs and other health IT (Health Data Management, 12/5).

David McCallie, JASON Task Force co-chair and Cerner’s president of medical informatics, said the goal is to develop a health IT operating system such as those used by Apple and Android mobile phones and tablets. Providers could then use both built-in apps and those created by outside developers (Modern Healthcare, 12/4).

According to Micky Tripathi, JASON Task Force co-chair and president and CEO of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative, the project “shows that private industry is now able to collectively and collaboratively play the lead role in rationalizing and modernizing nationwide healthcare interoperability, just as it has in other sectors of the economy” (Health Data Management, 12/5).

According to Beth Israel Chief Information Officer John Halamka, providers participating in the Argonaut Project likely will begin pilot projects that are FHIR-based in 2015. He said that HL7 would likely provide the health care industry with a draft standard in May for use in trials that would include FHIR health IT standards and a guide to implementation. Halamka added that he “expect[s] to see some mainstream products” using FHIR by 2016 (Modern Healthcare, 12/4).

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