In association with six state medical societies, The Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the work of practicing doctors, has revealed the creation of an interoperability fund.

Aptly called The Physicians Foundation Interoperability Fund, it will aid medical practices in sharing clinical information with other doctors and hospitals through health information exchanges. It’s launching with $500,000 in funding.

The six participating societies are the Connecticut State Medical Society, Medical Association of Georgia, Louisiana State Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, Medical Society of New Jersey and the South Carolina Medical Association.

Interested practices with an EHR in participating states can receive funding on a first come basis.

Together, the six societies will collaborate on a physician-led program aimed at improving the sharing of clinical information. Through the fund, health information exchange participants can access patient data regardless of where the patient received care. Ultimately, the aim is to improve clinical outcomes, boost patient safety and reduce inefficiencies.

“Our national survey of physicians tells us EHRs are the least satisfying part of physicians’ jobs, and oftentimes, a leading factor in burnout among America’s physicians,” The Physicians Foundation president Gary Price said in a statement. “The Physicians Foundation is proud to lead an initiative that will help alleviate unnecessary burdens on both physicians and patients. Through improved information sharing, The Physicians Foundation Interoperability Fund will further enable physicians to be their patients’ strongest advocate and partner in decision-making for their care.”

Interoperability continues to be a hot discussion topic in the healthcare world.

Earlier this year, a total of seven hospital groups — including the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Federation of American Hospitals — released a report encouraging stakeholders to advance data sharing. It outlines six elements of the pathway to interoperability, including security and privacy, efficient solutions, a cost-effective infrastructure, standards that work, connecting beyond electronic health records and shared best practices.

The government is also weighing in on data exchange. Last month, HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology issued the second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement, which outlines principles to support the nationwide exchange of health information.

Also in April, HHS also said it is extending the public comment period by 30 days for two proposed interoperability regulations. The new deadline for comment submission is June 3. The proposed rules were originally announced in February.

Photo: JamesBrey, Getty Images

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