ACC Takes a Stand on Interoperability with Health Policy Statement 

Sept. 15, 2016


Through its engagement with IHE and a range of other activities, the American College
of Cardiology (ACC) has shown its commitment to helping healthcare
organizations share health information simply and securely. But the road to
interoperable healthcare still has miles to go, and the ACC recognizes the need
for action to progress to a better place.

organization thus assembled a writing committee of 15 volunteer clinicians, all
of them experts in cardiac care, and over 18 months that committee drafted a
statement that identifies critical areas where interoperability is needed for
effective information exchange and identifies the IHE methodology as a key to
achieving it.

resulting publication was reviewed and endorsed by organizations across the
cardiac medical specialties. Entitled, “2016 ACC/ASE/ASNC/HRS/SCAI Health
Policy Statement on Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise,” it is published online in
the Journal of the
American College of Cardiology
. It takes a strong stand on advocating
implementation of IHE profiles to advance the interoperability of health
information technology.

statement acknowledges frustration that “the immediate access to data that has
transformed so many aspects of our lives, from banking, to shopping, and to
communication, has been slow to reach the field of health care.” Interoperability
among the many IT systems used in healthcare is needed to facilitate that kind
of convenient and secure access to health information. The statement describes
IHE’s unique role in achieving this goal. As expressed in the statement, “the role
of IHE is to leverage and extend existing foundational work to improve the
operational efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery because data
standards alone lack sufficient specificity to accomplish this. IHE is in a
unique position to formalize the use of existing standards to support
clinically relevant workflows and improve efficiency.”

“While there is an
abundance of standards, standards alone are not sufficient to demonstrate
interoperability,” says John
Windle, MD, chair of the ACC writing committee and chief of internal medicine
in the division of cardiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in
Omaha. “The integrated
health exchange is a way to truly demonstrate interoperability.”

ACC hopes the statement will serve as a call to action. They recognize that everyone
in healthcare from the C-suite and IT team to physicians and nurses needs to
understand interoperability and be on board to make it a reality.

are trying to give healthcare leaders the tools they need to implement these
profiles into the day-to-day clinical setting,” says Paul Dow, MS,
informatics and health information technology associate with the American
College of Cardiology.

statement provides summary descriptions of 14 published IHE profiles in
cardiology – addressing workflow, structured content, data submission to
registries among other areas – and their benefits for clinical care,
operational efficiency and research. It also gives a preview of work in

“The American College of Cardiology has
supported the cardiology domain since its inception. This health policy
statement was written to promote the role of IHE as a mechanism to promote real
interoperability,” says Dr. Windle.


ACC’s statement is a big step forward in promoting the adoption of IHE
profiles, but the organization knows there is more work to do. Dow could easily
imagine a new project stemming from this statement evolving over time.


sequel to this document could include more case studies, examples of how IHE
profiles were integrated and their long-term ROI,” says Dow.

Read the ACC Health Policy Statement on IHE here. Learn more by visiting the IHE Cardiology home page.