Interoperability: Just what the doctors ordered (or would have if they knew they could)

Lay Geoffrey

Three months ago the nonprofit Sequoia Project officially launched its Carequality Interoperability Framework. In January, the group began inviting stakeholders in the healthcare-information ecosystem to adopt the system. By signing a business agreement, participating entities would join Sequoia in turning a visionary interoperability concept into a set of bold, data-sharing actions.

Under the agreement, the vendors, payers, HIEs and others taking Sequoia up on the invitation would consent to provide information-exchange services that would—through common legal terms, technical specs, governance processes and other details handled by the framework—unlock unprecedented levels of connectivity for providers and patients all across the country.

Today I am thrilled to tell you that GE Healthcare has signed on and is all in.

Why thrilled? For starters, because GE has always been good at interoperability. Look no further than our legacy participation in IHE Connectathons and HIMSS Interoperability Showcase events—including one that’s happening right now at HIMSS16 in Las Vegas.

But we haven’t always done as well as we could at shouting interoperability from the rooftops. Consider GE’s adoption of Carequality our bullhorn as well as our call to arms.

If U.S. healthcare is to improve population health, optimize patient experience and cut costs—in other words, for U.S. healthcare to achieve the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim—it needs to increase interoperability by orders of magnitude. Now is the time and, we believe, the Carequality Interoperability Framework is an important step in the evolution of interoperability offering an efficient and effective healthcare experience for patients and providers.”

At the heart of it, Carequality is a coming together of the major EMR vendors and the providers who use their products.

What’s in all this “vendor togetherness” for GE customers? A lot. Think about the impact on patient care for a multispecialty practice with access to patient discharge summary and medical images from all the local hospital systems… A patient comes in for follow-up after being treated for emergency or inpatient services at a hospital downtown that has Epic. The patient’s information flows back and forth between the Centricity Practice Solution and the Epic based hospital, via simple queries using IHE profiles, such that the patient is seamlessly served, the hospital is maximally efficient and the practice is sitting pretty to increase its referrals.

The Carequality Interoperability Framework is broader and simpler than a garden-variety HIE. Ultimately, GE’s participation will allow us to lower the cost of information exchange for our customers. It will facilitate the standardization of our support. And it will make our customers more nimble to keep up with whatever comes next in this ever-changing healthcare economy.


Geoff Lay is a senior product management leader in GE Healthcare’s Centricity Practice Solution division.

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