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International Efforts

Health information technology use in the United States and the United Kingdom

Health information technology use is growing in both the United States and the United Kingdom. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.K. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt signed a bi-lateral agreement for the use and sharing of health IT information and tools. The agreement strengthens efforts to cultivate and increase the use of health IT tools and information designed to help improve the quality and efficiency of the delivery of health care in both countries.  The two Secretaries of Health signed the agreement at the Annual Meeting of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. 

The agreement signals a formal commitment by both countries to collaborate to advance the applications of data and technology to improve health.

 Originally identified at the June 5, 2013, bilateral summit meeting between the United States and United Kingdom, the collaboration focuses on four key areas for health IT and innovation.

  • Sharing Quality Indicators – The collaboration reviewed existing quality indicators and selected Depression symptom screening and knee/hip quality indicators, and is now identifying alignments across existing British and American repositories to identify best practices in the design and use of quality indicators. Future work will include mutually leveraging technical experts and data, and working on a standardized approach to quality indicator development
  • Liberating Data and Putting It to Work – HHS and the United States and National Health Service England will discuss and find areas of collaboration around:                 
    • Open data and safe and secure data transparency of secondary stored data, with the consent of patients to allow for the two countries to further assess the quality of preventive interventions and health care delivery;  
    • Interoperability standards for improvement of data sharing and clinical care respectively, with a focus on consumer/patients accessing and sharing their data, such as Blue Button in the United States;  
    • Adopting Digital Health Record Systems –  Both organizations will work to maximize successful adoption of digital records across the health care spectrum and support the development of a robust health IT workforce; and
    • Priming the Health IT Market – Both organizations will work to support the Health IT Marketplace by identifying barriers to innovation, sharing individual certification approaches for patients and clinician-facing applications, and strategies to support small and medium enterprises/start-ups.