The West Health Institute and ONC Issue Call for Action to Healthcare Stakeholders to Drive Medical Interoperability

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) release a white paper summarizing the HCI-DC 2014: Igniting an Interoperable Healthcare System conference, featuring lessons learned and synthesizing findings into a call for action to achieve an interoperable healthcare system.

“Interoperability is a burning issue that impairs care delivery, and patients are waiting for it to be improved,” said Nicholas Valeriani, Chief Executive of West Health. “Interoperability can enable a smarter healthcare delivery system and I encourage all stakeholders to recognize that the lack of interoperability is a crisis and to advocate for rapid change.”

Featuring a 10-page executive summary of the opportunities and challenges associated with interoperability, the HCI-DC white paper provides guidance on how hospitals, health systems and clinicians, patients, regulatory agencies, healthcare technology vendors, standards development organizations, the investor community, and payors can all take clear action to drive interoperability. It also summarizes keynote and panel presentations from HCI-DC 2014, which took place Feb. 6, 2014 in Washington D.C.

“ONC envisions an information-rich, consumer centered health care system that allows a patient’s health information to follow them wherever they get their care,” said Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for Health IT. “We are working with patients, providers and others across health care and health IT to securely and safely free health information that will help to improve patient care and health, at lower costs.”

Joseph Smith, MD, Ph.D, chief science and medical officer at the West Health Institute, is the executive editor of the white paper. Contributing editors include:

Introduction on HCI-DC and Medical Interoperability
Interoperability—the ability of systems to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged—can help solve the healthcare crisis. The West Health Institute’s HCI-DC 2014, cohosted by ONC, brought together experts from across the healthcare community to consider how interoperability can cut costs, improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve health. Interoperability across systems and care settings can empower patients, help doctors make better decisions, and allow them and nurses and other healthcare providers to spend more time with patients. It can accelerate innovation and free up technology resources in hospitals so that they can focus on improving care in the community.

According to a West Health Institute analysis, interoperability could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings and improve patient care and safety.

The full white paper as well and the abbreviated executive summary including the call for action are available for free download at

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is an independent, non-profit medical research organization that works with healthcare providers and research institutions to create new, more effective ways of delivering care. We’re wholly funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West as part of West Health, four organizations with a common mission—pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices, to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans.

Along with the Institute, West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center, a non-profit resource in Washington, DC, providing policy education and proposals; and the for-profit Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and West Health Incubator, providing investments and expertise to businesses that share our mission. For more information, find us at and follow us @westhealth.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the administration’s health IT efforts and is a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care. The ONC is organizationally located within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The ONC is the principal federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide efforts to implement and use the most advanced health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information. The position of National Coordinator was created in 2004, through an Executive Order, and legislatively mandated in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) of 2009. For more information, contact ONC at and @ONC_HealthIT.

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