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March 11, 2020: Could you imagine buying anything without knowing as much as you can about the product? That’s the way it has been in healthcare for decades. Everything has been abrogated to various third party decisions as supposed to having a one-to-one between the patients and providers. That is all about to change now though since the Cures Act and with interoperability just around the corner. In today’s episode, we have Dr. Don Rucker, the National Coordinator for Health IT for ONC as our guest, who speaks about all things Cures Act as well as the final rule which just came down on interoperability. Dr. Rucker talks about the history of the barriers to interoperability firstly being technological ones and more presently, ones of legislation and business configurations. He then gives listeners an idea of the primary technologies that are enabling interoperability: RESTFUL, JSON, and FHIR. Dr. Rucker shines some light on the development and naming of FHIR, and speaks about its benefits for clients, providers and more. Our conversation moves to a deeper dive into some of the remaining behavioral challenges in the way of interoperability thanks to healthcare not being influenced by market forces since the 1942 Stabilization Act. We finally speak to the idea that this greater transparency will be beneficial even for these laggers that might need to make a big adjustment to the change. Lower prices, higher quality, patient empowerment, a fairer playing field and much more depends on these looming developments so tune in to find out the full scope!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Barriers to interoperability: tech and business-related vested interests.
  • Why the case for sharing EHRs falls with the public sector: healthcare’s commercialization.
  • Technological enablers of interoperability: RESTFUL, JSON, and FHIR.
  • Coming up with FHIR with Ken Mandl, and FIHR’s advantages for patients and providers.
  • Three reasons why clients are forced to choose a hospital, quality not being one.
  • The ability to rate service and search by quality provided by the interoperability technology.
  • Timeframes on the release of data, its content, and formats for its release.
  • Dr. Rucker’s perspectives on the EHR contracts that stand in the way of interoperability.
  • The weeds of legal agreements and rules pertaining to API access to EHRs.
  • Tightening the treatment loop and competitive pricing; the future post-interoperability.
  • How the Cures Act was bipartisan meaning laggers of the process won’t get that far.
  • The need for transparency in healthcare and how impending market forces will reduce prices.


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