Trailblazers Drs. Marjorie Rallins and Holly Miller leading the way to interoperability || EP. 165

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Laurie McGraw is speaking with Inspiring Women Drs. Marjorie Rallins and Holly Miller who are experts in the space of data standards setting and the landscape of interoperability.  

Both Marjorie and Holly have devoted their expertise and careers towards building the infrastructure and plumbing that fuels the clinical data information highway so that clinical data is trustworthy, useful and actionable.  They share the progress made over the past few decades and the opportunity in front of us with the adoption of TEFCA (Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement). They emphasize the complexities of standards and terminologies governing health information flow and highlight interoperability’s critical role in improving healthcare quality, safety, efficiency, and patient engagement.

Dr. Miller notes that while health data exchange is widespread, data often lacks reliability and usability for seamless integration into patient care. Dr. Rallins reflects on improvements since the inception of interoperability initiatives, citing advances in electronic health records (EHRs) but noting persistent challenges like semantic interoperability with standardized terminologies.  She also notes that this may be technical, but is also not that hard.  The “Internet of Interoperability,” prioritizing data accessibility alongside security and privacy protections is the aim.

They also discuss challenges such as data blocking and regulatory efforts to promote patient access and adherence to interoperability standards like USCDI. Overall, they express cautious optimism about interoperability’s progress amid ongoing issues of data usability, trustworthiness, and regulatory compliance, with an eye toward evolving technologies like AI for future improvements

Both Marjorie and Holly recognize that there are fewer women who, like them, have pursued a field of data standards and interoperability.  Yet, they are NOT alone and with appreciation for those who work alongside them, they encourage others to choose this deeply technical path.

We close with giving both doctors a magic wand to advance the healthcare landscape.  Holly officially wants to “ax the fax” and get to standardized data.  Marjorie also looks to standardized terminologies but asks for national health equity as the most important path for us to pursue.

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Dr. Holly Miller

Chief Medical Officer, MedAllies

Dr. Miller is an internist who has practiced medicine using several EHR systems and has well over two decades of healthcare IT experience.

Since 2009, Dr. Miller has been the Chief Medical Officer of MedAllies a company that operates multiple networks in support of interoperability.  At MedAllies, Dr. Miller provides operational, tactical, and strategic collaborative leadership. 

Dr. Miller is currently a Chair, Co-Chair, or member of many Health Information Technology (HIT) Interoperability related committees and workgroups engaged in enhancing healthcare value.  These include committees within the following organizations: Carequality; Sequoia; DaVinci; CMS: PACIO; ONC: 360X; IHE; NCQA; HIMSS; Moving Forward and KLAS.  She continues to be a frequent speaker at national conferences.

Dr. Miller was formerly a VP and the CMIO of University Hospitals and Health Systems (UH), a community-based system with more than 150 locations, seven wholly owned and four affiliated hospitals throughout Northern Ohio.  Prior to joining UH, she worked as an HIT Managing Director for the Cleveland Clinic where she also maintained a clinical practice in General Internal Medicine.  She has been active in healthcare informatics research and has been a co-investigator on multiple grants. 

As a member of HIMSS since 1999, Dr. Miller is a past Vice Chair of the HIMSS Board and a past inaugural member of the HIMSS World-Wide Board. Her past roles within HIMSS also included being a physician leader of the HIMSS/AMDIS Physician Community and serving as the Board Liaison to HIMSS Europe for four years. She was also active in a variety of previous S&I ONC committees and other state and government HIT committees. Dr. Miller earned her MBA at Hautes Etudes Commerciale in Paris and her Doctor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

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Dr. Marjorie Rallins

Executive Director of Health Data Standards, LOINC® at Regenstrief Institute

Marjorie Rallins, DPM, MS, is a nationally recognized leader in health data standards and informatics. She began her duties with LOINC® at Regenstrief Institute January 11, 2021. She previously served as vice president and chief scientific officer of the PCPI® Foundation in Chicago as well as director of clinical informatics for the American Medical Association. Her proven experience in a unique combination of clinical research, business development and thought leadership positions Regenstrief Health Data Standards to continue facilitating healthcare interoperability at a crucial time for public health.

Dr. Rallins received her podiatric medical degree from the William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago and completed her master of science degree at Northwestern University in Chicago. She was chief resident at Southwest Detroit Hospital and practiced as a podiatrist before working as the director of clinical editors for the College of American Pathologists, where she led international clinical teams in SNOMED CT® development. Dr. Rallins received her undergraduate degree from Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

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