The Center for Medical Interoperability was developed through the strategic vision and leadership of Gary and Mary West, successful entrepreneurs and pioneering philanthropists, who believe in transforming the healthcare system to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost, with a focus on helping our nation’s seniors successfully age on their own terms. They believe a vital component within the healthcare system is ensuring all forms of healthcare technology, including medical devices and electronic health records, seamlessly exchange information so that the quality and safety of care can be improved and costs reduced.
The initial concept for the Center was developed in 2011 through researching a standards-based approach to medical device interoperability at the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a 501(c)(3) applied medical research organization funded by the Gary and Mary West Foundation.
To accelerate systemic change, West leadership realized the importance of bringing together senior executives from some of the largest healthcare systems in the United States to create and lead a market-based, independent organization dedicated to making plug-and-play interoperability a reality for all medical technologies within the healthcare system.
In August 2013, with financial support from the Gary and Mary West Foundation totaling more than $10 million since its inception, the Center became an independent legal entity, with personnel and technology transferred from the West Health Institute. On February 6, 2014, the Institute and the Office of the National Coordination for Health Information Technology (ONC), in collaboration with the Center, brought together more than 1,200 public and private stakeholders who developed a national call to action with key milestones necessary for achieving an interoperable healthcare system. In early 2015, the Center announced its board of directors, consisting of 14 hospital system leaders across the United States.
The Center’s efforts to bring plug-and-play interoperability to healthcare were recently discussed by HHS secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell in her keynote address at HIMSS 2016, the largest health information technology conference in the world, noting the Center’s “commitment to cooperation and innovation will help us build our healthcare system into one that works best for that patient who checks into a hospital for high quality care.”
Today, the Center continues as an independent organization, focused on how healthcare technologies, including medical devices, share real-time information and function seamlessly in the background so clinicians can excel in their jobs and achieve the best possible outcomes for patients.