"Part of the mission we have in front of us is to make the buyers aware that there's something you can ask for, and that the vendors can innovate and provide it," Smith told me. "I don't think there's been an adequate focus from the buying side of the equation to understand that if they do specify that [products] talk using open standards, the vendors, because they're trying to sell their wares… will follow that requirement."
I would argue that buyers have been like that pumped-up football team in Cosby's comedy bit. They've been fired up and loudly demanding interoperability for some time, yet too many IT vendors have too often kept the door to interoperability locked tight, denying the industry $30 billion in potential savings, according to West Health's estimate.
During the February event, organizers asked the audience what was preventing functional interoperability in medical devices and information systems. "Their dominant answer was, [it was] purposeful strategies to maintain market share and increase switching costs," Smith said.
"The assembled audience was dominantly of the opinion that this was kind of a market failure, as opposed to not having the technology available, not having sufficient standards. They were saying that this was kind of a vendor-driven reality."