Washington, March 1, 2016 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) pledged their support for advancing interoperability among health information systems as foundations to the success of health care delivery system reform. The commitment and pledge of ACP and other organizations was announced yesterday at the Health Information Management Systems Society conference by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of a group of pledges gathered from different stakeholders.
Currently, most electronic health records systems and other health information technology cannot communicate with each other, inhibiting data sharing. The goal of interoperability is to allow systems to share electronic health information seamlessly, so that patients, their physicians, and other health care professionals can easily access information where and when they need it most.
“True and practical interoperability of health information is an important goal,” said Steven E. Weinberger, MD, MACP, FRCP executive vice-president and chief executive officer of ACP. “Without the ability to share meaningful information between systems and devices, with a focus on the needs of the clinicians and the patients, the usefulness of these systems is diminished.”
As part of the pledge, ACP committed to following three principles to advance interoperability:
- Consumer Access—Consumers should be able to easily and securely access their health information, direct it to a desired location, know how it will be shared and used, and know that it will be effectively and safely used.
- No Blocking— Clinicians should share patients’ health information for care with other clinicians and the patients themselves whenever permitted by law, and not knowingly or unreasonably block electronic health information. Additionally, clinicians should be protected from excessive costs related to interfaces for information exchange.
- Standards Implementation—ACP will work to support the implementation of federally recognized, national interoperability standards for electronic health information, and the adoption of best practices including those related to privacy and security.
“While the advantage of an electronic health records system is great, it has the potential to be even greater with the ability to transfer information among all of the systems that have contact with a patient,” continued Dr. Weinberger. “That is the case for most of our existing health information technology; it could do more for us and more for our patients. ACP’s work on this issue, along with all of the other parties who need to join together, will be vital.”
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 143,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.
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