Dr. Mostashari’s Last-Minute Interoperability Challenge

Allscripts, by partnering with Albany Medical Center, MedAllies and NextGen, handily won an interoperability challenge issued by Dr. Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, at HIMSS last week.  Read Dr. Doug Fridsma’s post on ONC’s Health IT Buzz blog describing the event. 

Mostashari’s surprise challenge was this: Send a document via protocols established by the ONC Direct Project along a pathway that has never been used. In other words, prove that Direct (a public/private collaborative focused on developing a scalable, secure, standards-based means of sending authenticated health information via the Internet) is live and working in general, and is not just a set of hard-coded demonstration systems working together.

Allscripts and its team not only completed the task successfully but did so with time to spare.

Important to note: “This used the test systems of actual clients – production code!” said George Cole, Principal Scientist, Community Solutions, Allscripts Solutions Development.

Cole can be seen celebrating the achievement in the video above, from the HIMSS show floor, along with Dr. Mostashari and John Blair of MedAllies.

“Our success at this event was important because this exchange of information demonstrated to everyone there, including representatives from ONC, Health and Human Services and Congress, that interoperability really is doable,” said Leigh Burchell, Allscripts Vice President, Government Affairs. “There’s a great deal of talk about data exchange in the industry, of course, but Allscripts has demonstrated year after year that it’s real for us and it can be real for our clients. And Dr. Mostashari’s excitement can clearly be seen on the video.”

Cole describes how the challenge was conducted:

“NextGen connected to their client site in the New York area – from Las Vegas! – and sent a document using Direct to a provider at Albany Medical Center. The Albany Medical Center system received this document, as routed by the MedAllies Health Information Service Provider,” he said. “From the Showcase floor, using Lync, we then connected to the AMC test system to show that the document had arrived thanks to Direct…All within the space of less than an hour.”

Health information exchange will be a critical part of the Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records as the program moves to Stage 2 as part of a larger effort to increase coordinated care, smooth care transitions and demonstrate improved patient outcomes.

Thanks to Valeri Oliver on the Allscripts Internal Communications team for this story.

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About the author

Todd Stein is editor of It Takes A Community. A former journalist and freelance editor, Stein has worked as a business reporter for The Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Business Times, as producer of HIMSS Newsbreak, contributing editor to California Hospitals and senior writer for NurseWeek. His many articles on healthcare IT and other topics have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications including Healthcare Informatics, Healthcare IT News, Journal of AHIMA, Physicians Practice, The Los Times, San Francisco Magazine and VIA.

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