Collaborative initiative aims to improve interoperability in public health

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Stewards of Change Institute (SOCI) and AcademyHealth have announced an initiative to improve collaboration of health and human service organizations through technology and sharing information. With $1.2 million in funding from The Kresge Foundation, the creation of the National Interoperability Collaborative (NIC) will advance interoperability to benefit underserved communities.

“So much knowledge and so many tools already exist to deliver far better care than we’re currently doing,” said SOCI President Daniel Stein. “But most systems still operate in silos, so we’re not learning from each other or optimizing the use of existing resources. We’re very grateful to The Kresge Foundation for providing us with the wherewithal to start reshaping that reality.”

The initiative begins with the integration of existing guidance on data sharing platforms from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, National Governors Association and the National Academy of Medicine. The NIC will develop guidance, set standards and promote interoperability and information sharing upon previous collective knowledge. A demonstration of the initiative, called the Health Emergency Linkages and Preparedness (HELP) model, will cover public health crises like Hurricane Katrina to showcase the efficiency in data sharing and how it assists in providing care in dangerous times.

“We are all committed to helping providers get better information about the families and communities they serve,” said Margo Edmunds, AcademyHealth’s Vice President for Evidence Generation and Translation. “Data sharing changes organizational relationships and helps get the right information to the right providers at the right time. We hope to find and share some of the best ways to build and maintain those collaborative systems.”

“The National Interoperability Collaborative will fill the information system gap between the health and human services sectors,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director of Kresge’s Health and Human Services Programs. “With the leadership from Stewards of Change and AcademyHealth, we have a unique opportunity to learn how we can increase best practices and collaborate for better outcomes for those we serve.”