The lack of common interoperability standards and inconsistent approaches to security, privacy and trust are perpetuating an antiquated U.S. health care delivery system that has been largely unable to benefit from the widespread adoption of IT, according to Verizon’s top security and health care executive.
The executive, Dr. Peter Tippett, vice president of security and industry solutions for Verizon, called for the development of “simple, common-sense approaches to data security and interoperability” to help expand access to quality care, control costs and improve patient outcomes. He spoke at the 2011 Health Information Management Systems Society annual conference.
In a “Views from the Top” address titled “Prescription for Health IT: What’s Holding Us Back,” Tippett said: “The U.S. health care system is the envy of many countries around the world. However, there is much that needs to be done to bring the industry into the 21st century. Working together to tackle acknowledged industrywide challenges, we can foster an environment of change and through the pragmatic use of IT create a stronger and more viable health care system.”
Tippett outlined four key areas that he said will serve as the foundation for the future transformation of the health care system. The areas are:
- Built-in Security – The ability to share information in a secure and trusted manner is a vital cornerstone in health care. To be effective, security compliance programs should be intuitive, easy-to-use and uniform across the industry.
- Support for Structured and Unstructured Data – Due to a lack of common standards for its use and storage, data often remains in separate files rather than being combined to provide a holistic patient view. By redoubling efforts to tackle this issue, health care data can be easily shared among providers to help reduce medical errors and enable informatics and analytics to help improve treatment plans and patient outcomes.
- High-IQ Networks – Pervasive and interconnected IP and wireless networks are the essential platforms to connect providers to foster innovation. Secure, high-performance networks will serve as the underlying foundational platforms to help drive productivity and efficiency enhancements.
- Simplification – The U.S. health care system is diverse, ranging from large urban providers with thousands of physicians to small rural practices. Solutions must be affordable, consistent and, ultimately, simple. Leveraging current systems and data is an important first step and is essential for promoting usability and driving benefits to provide a solid foundation for future enhancements.