ONC recently published the draft version of its 2015 “Interoperability Roadmap.” The Roadmap lays out action items that ONC believes should be taken by a variety of different stakeholders in order to “advance nationwide interoperability” and move towards a “Learning Health System.” The agenda is broken down over the course of three, six, and 10 year windows, with specific action items associated with each of the five interoperability “building blocks” established by ONC:
- Rules of engagement and governance
- Supportive business, clinical, cultural and regulatory environments
- Privacy and security protections for health information
- Certification and testing to support adoption and optimization of health IT products and services
- Core technical standards and functions
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: The 2015 Interoperability Roadmap is intended as a draft, but it definitely provides a strong indication of where ONC wants to head. The best part is you don’t even have to read the entire 166 page document – all you need is Impact Advisors’ recently published “Driver’s Handbook” on the Roadmap written by Dr. Dan Golder, which includes a summary of the near-term action items and insights on the key takeaways!
Epic will soon launch its own app store, which will allow clients and third party companies to develop applications that are compatible with Epic’s EHR. According to the article in the Wisconsin State Journal, the Epic app store – which will be called “App Exchange” – is expected to open “in a few weeks.” Just like the requirements for creating an iPhone or iPad app that Apple will publish in its App Store, the article states that Epic will soon release “a road map about how to work with Epic.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: We think this news is fascinating. It is impossible to predict how many customers and third parties will actually create apps, but it will be very interesting to see what happens. We are particularly intrigued to see guidelines for the App Exchange when they are published. How much flexibility will app developers have? How will issues related to privacy, security, and patient safety influence the approval process for apps?
The highly anticipated (at least by some) Apple Watch was originally envisioned as a revolutionary health monitoring device. When the watch was unveiled in September 2014, the health and wellness-related features announced included an accelerometer to track movement and a built in sensor to measure pulse rate. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal though, Apple had much bigger plans for the watch’s health monitoring capabilities when development began four years ago, including sensors that could measure blood pressure, heart activity, and even stress (!). However, due to difficulty getting the sensors to work consistently on all people – and the prospect that such a device might need to be regulated by the FDA – Apple scaled back its original plans.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: The story is highly recommended reading that underscores some of the challenges inherent to developing an advanced wearable monitoring device for a broad audience. The more sophisticated sensors that Apple initially studied could still very well be included in a future Apple Watch model though, especially if the first generation of the device is a hit (as some analysts are definitely predicting).