A Robust Health Data Infrastructure (Virginia)

Project Final Report (PDF, 1.62 MB)

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Summary:

There is interest in furthering electronic exchange of health information across health care organizations. A meaningful exchange of information, electronic or otherwise, can take place between two parties only when the data are expressed in a mutually comprehensible format and include the information that both parties deem important. With respect to data formats, the current lack of interoperability among the data resources for electronic health records (EHRs) is a major impediment to the effective exchange of health information. These interoperability issues need to be solved going forward and one route to an interoperable solution is via the adoption of a common mark-up language for electronic health records.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded JASON, at the MITRE Corporation, to conduct a review of these issues. This report was created to address the nationally significant challenge of developing comprehensive clinical datasets, collected in real world environments and accessible in real time, to support clinical research and to address public health concerns.

Key findings from the report included:

  • The current lack of interoperability among data resources for EHRs is a major impediment to the exchange of health information and the development of a robust health data infrastructure. Interoperability issues can be resolved only by establishing a comprehensive, transparent, and overarching software architecture for health information. 
  • The goals of improved health care and lowered health care costs can begin to be realized if health-related data can be explored and exploited in the public interest, for both clinical practice and biomedical research. That will require implementing technical solutions that both protect patient privacy and enable data integration across patients.
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