If you’ve heard of HIPAA or conducted a HIPAA transaction like an electronic claim or an eligibility and benefits check, you’re probably familiar with the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, or “WEDI.” A health IT industry organization, WEDI focuses on advancing health information exchange and advises the Department of Health and Human Services on matters of electronic data interchange in health care.

In 1993, WEDI developed its first industry roadmap for health information exchange, and in 2013 Availity co-sponsored a revised version. Availity also backed a 2015 update to the 2013 report (issued by the Louis W. Sullivan Institute for Healthcare Innovation) detailing the progress made in four key areas:

1. Patient engagement

2. Payment models

3. Data harmonization and exchange

4. Innovative encounter models

While patient engagement and innovative encounter models showed good progress, new payment models and data harmonization and exchange received cautionary assessments, indicating ongoing challenges in these areas. A summary from the Year in Review: An Update on the 2013 WEDI Report & Roadmap for the Future of Healthcare Exchange is excerpted below:

1. Patient Engagement
Health IT literacy initiatives have lagged, but the industry has continued momentum in patient information capture and identification. Coupled with the new federal vision for health IT, efforts are on pace with meeting WEDI recommendations and receive a progress rating of “green.”

2. Payment Models
New payment models have yet to fully mature, and their success and sustainability remain. Until a framework of core attributes and technological functionalities is developed and the industry directs further efforts at achieving WEDI recommendations, progress is rated as “yellow.”

3. Data Harmonization and Exchange
Further efforts are required to standardize and harmonize data. Given the nascent nature of interoperability efforts and ongoing challenges of meeting WEDI recommendations, progress is rated as “yellow.”

4. Innovative Encounter Models
Driven by venture capital, federal pilot programs, and industry initiatives, healthcare stakeholders are actively exploring and implementing innovative encounter models that leverage technology and provide patient-centered care. Efforts are on pace with WEDI recommendations and receive a rating of “green.”

Working together with WEDI, providers, health plans, vendors, and consumers, Availity will continue to develop solutions that further health information exchange to create a simpler, more efficient health care system.

*Scott Herbst is a current member of the WEDI Board of Directors.