Infographic – Practical Interoperability in Healthcare

The team at HULFT sent me their new infographic that identifies the stakeholders that should be “at the table” to set your organization’s data sharing and interoperability policies.

There are a couple of things I really like about this infographic.

First, I like the mixture of disciplines and backgrounds that HULFT has identified as data stakeholders. There are people you would expect to see around the table like the CIO, CSO, Privacy Officer, COO, etc. But there are others who are a bit of a surprise: the Revenue Cycle Manager, Pharmacy Benefits Leader, Nurse Practitioner Informaticists, and Care Management Director.

The Care Management Director is an especially welcome inclusion. Without interoperability coordinating patient care is time consuming, frustrating for everyone involved and fraught with errors (medicine reconciliation anyone?). When I think about the need for interoperability, care coordination is what come springs to mind.

The second thing I like about this infographic is the consistency of the visual. The avatars seated at the miniature table at the top are the same as the enlarged versions underneath. This attention to visual detail appeals to the healthcare marketer in me.


About the author

Colin Hung

Colin Hung

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.


  • One group is conspicuously absent in the graphic of groups that need to be ‘at the table’ for interoperability in healthcare.


    And, if you are not at the table, it means you are probably on the menu. I think that applies here.

    I give this a failing grade. I hope HULUFT at some point realizes that healthcare is about patients, not about data.

  • I also agree with Peter. It seems that healthcare — for whatever reason — often ignores why the industry exists — patients. I know it’s controversial for some to refer to patients as consumers, however, perhaps if medicine viewed patients as such, we would be treated as a more valuable piece of the healthcare puzzle.

  • I agree with your point about the patients being part of this as well. However, I think that adding them to the infographic would actually lessen their influence. I think each person on this infographic should have access to a patient advisory council that provides them the patient feedback for each of their areas. Patients need to be involved with each group as opposed to one token patient group.

  • I agree with what Peter Elias shared above; I’ll push back on what John Lynn says about patients being background via a patient advisory council – that’s exactly the mindset that keeps patients marginalized and backgrounded in the design and deployment of healthcare services. This locks in the idea that all health data is generated within the payer/provider universe of healthcare, while only 10% of health-related activity happens in clinics or facilities that are part of that payer/provider universe.

    We’re spending $3.7T/year in this “system” that’s minting coin off the data generated by the patients it serves – making many of us on the “being served” side feel like the turkey on the Thanksgiving platter, vs any kind of empowered actor on our own behalf within this “system.”

    Intersectionality isn’t just for social justice issues, it also impacts healthcare delivery and quality improvement. Leaving the end-user out of any discussion or use of their data in this sector just guarantees business as usual (preserving the $3.7T gold mine), which “business as usual” also serves up some really poor outcomes.

  • Mighty Casey,
    I’m not sure how you got the idea that I was saying that patients should be in the background. I’m suggesting that they should play a more prominent role and not a less prominent. Sure, I can see how it makes sense to add them to the infographic as well, but what I was suggesting is that it’s not enough to have them a separate group on this infographic. I’m suggesting that each of the people on this infographic should have an ongoing connection to a patient advisory council that informs all of their decisions and not just this one use case around interoperability.

    Put another way, I’m suggesting we add another column down the right side with each group connected to 11 patient advisory groups. The more patient feedback the better.

  • Thanks for the clarification, John – I now actually get what you were saying ?

    I will confess that much of my un-love of patient advisory groups, at least as they are currently set up across the US healthcare landscape, is driven by my experience that they’re too often just a box-check play. There are points of light in that landscape, but it’s a rara avis indeed when people/patients are actual partners in designing better systems, processes, and evidence to drive health/care improvement that’s meaningful to plain ol’ humans.

    Check out the conversation I had at Cochrane last month with Jen Johannesen, whose keynote at the conference was “the problem with patient engagement”

  • An interesting discussion here and I appreciate all the comments. Patients do need a more prominent voice in healthcare and if we don’t design systems with them/us in mind then we will forever be playing catch up – redoing code to accommodate the unmet need. In a similar way clinicians were also left out of many early IT discussions and that’s partly why we have EHR systems today that are very difficult for them to use. More stakeholder involvement is the way to go – but how many organizations allow themselves the time to seek all this input. I suspect that in the rush to get things done some/many of the above stakeholders (and patients) do not get to be at the table.

  • We certainly didn’t mean to minimize the role of the patient in this infographic. If anything, the message we meant to convey (but obviously, could have been clearer) was that if critical healthcare information can be more safely and efficiently exchanged across healthcare delivery organizations, healthcare delivery organizations would be closer to achieving the Triple Aim of improving the patient experience, improving the health of population and reducing the per capital cost of healthcare.

    Anil Kumar
    HULFT, Inc.
    Senior Director, Digital Health
    1820 Gateway Drive | Suite 120
    San Mateo, CA 94404

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