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The Longitudinal Record Depends on Interoperability

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In population health management, a common phrase used is creating a “complete, longitudinal patient record.” A longitudinal record, or the summation of a patient’s care journey through the healthcare system, relies on achieving true interoperability for completeness and accuracy. The concept is becoming a cornerstone for improved patient safety and experiences, reducing costs, and improving data accessibility and usability for care providers across organizations. With the recent release of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology’s Cures Act Final Rule, the industry is signaling meaningful steps to achieve greater interoperability.

Takeaways from the ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule

On March 9, 2020, the ONC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) released final rulings related to data privacy and patient information. The rule is designed to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information. The Cures Act Final Rule shows support for the seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information (EHI).

The rule calls on the healthcare industry to adopt standardized application programming interfaces (APIs), which will allow individuals to securely and easily access structured electronic health information. Furthermore, to support the access and exchange of EHI, the rule also implements information blocking provisions. Together, these final rules mark the most extensive healthcare data sharing policies the federal government has implemented, requiring both public and private entities to share health information between patients and other parties while keeping that information private. Lightbeam is supportive of these recent rulings and motivated that the unnecessary practices of data blocking can be removed to allow for meaningful data exchange.

Sharing Electronic Health Information

Following the latest provisions around information blocking while promoting the exchange of EHI, many entities face challenges in adopting appropriate technologies to facilitate this data exchange. It is becoming more important that as patients travel across their various care venues that their data moves with them. Lightbeam is committed to providing key solutions that help facilitate the exchange of this data. While our solutions are not required to be certified through the ONC Health IT Certification Program, it will be essential that the technologies adopted are suitable recipients and stewards of the data, and make it easy to access, use, and present at the right place and the right time.

Utilizing a Health Information Exchange for Interoperability

Using a health information exchange (HIE) solution gives providers, hospitals, health systems, states, and other communities a sure means of data exchange from separate sources without fear of a breach. The ideal HIE delivers actionable patient information in a single solution, resulting in better-coordinated care, improved quality, and reduced costs. The Lightbeam HIE addresses various challenges in interoperability when dealing with disparate EHR systems and technologies, maintaining a unified patient record, or Master Patient Index (MPI), exchanging data-rich files following the latest United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) requirements, and ensuring that data is available without disrupting workflows. The HIE is also a crucial component in integrating various solutions and value-add services that support data exchange further, such as event notifications and integrating with referral management solutions. Lightbeam’s HIE is a reliable means of providing a longitudinal record for patients as they travel across their care continuum.

For more information on how Lightbeam is partnering to provide interoperability solutions, feel free to reach out to me at I also want to encourage you to visit the Lightbeam Education Center and watch my recent presentation on Leveraging Technology to Achieve Interoperability with my colleague Mike Hoxter, Chief Technology Officer at Lightbeam. It is currently available to watch on-demand.

Carrie Roth is Manager of HIE Implementations at Lightbeam.

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