System inter-operability, the ability to share and utilize information between two or more information systems, is critical in today’s increasingly interconnected health care environment. Yet significant challenges continue to impede true information reciprocity across the spectrum of care.

The AAFP understands that removing these roadblocks and eliminating isolated data silos are essential steps toward improving care quality, safety, and efficiency. That’s why we support ongoing efforts aimed at creating and implementing technical standards for the secure, ubiquitous transfer of health data. We’ve also been engaged in the equally important task of developing process policies for how patient information is shared between providers, payers, and others.

The AAFP has:

  • Worked closely with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to provide input as to how voluntary members of a national electronic Health Information Exchange (HIE) should be accredited, certified and audited for compliance with security and transparency policies;
  • Offered policymakers detailed input, guidance and feedback in the area of technical HIE protocols and standards;
  • Pushed to confirm that communication protocols established between payers and providers fully reflect the needs of physician offices.

The issue of inter-operability represents one of the most complex challenges facing the health care community as we pursue patient-centered health care reform. For that reason, the AAFP will continue working to bring vendors, providers, payers, and policymakers together behind a common vision of true inter-operability and connected care that benefits patients and their primary care physicians.

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