Hey, EHR ven­dors: What took you so long on in­ter­op­er­abil­ity?

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing the re­cent ar­ti­cle “Top EHR ven­dors agree to in­ter­op­er­abil­ity met­rics” (Mod­ern­Health­care.com, Oct. 19), if ven­dors had fo­cused on this from the start, we could be avoid­ing all this catch-up now.

Add to the mix the in­dus­try­wide pres­ence of staffers, ad­min­is­tra­tors, IT folks, physi­cians and other care­givers who don’t re­ally un­der­stand HIPAA’s lim­i­ta­tions (please stop dis­cussing pa­tients in the hall­way) and/or its free­doms (dis­clo­sure for con­ti­nu­ity of care is ab­so­lutely al­lowed). The lack of un­der­stand­ing has added to this mess.

An­other layer comes in the form of re­stric­tions that were meant to hin­der in­ap­pro­pri­ate ac­cess, but in­stead they have hin­dered pa­tient care (a doc­tor with priv­i­leges at a hospi­tal needs a pa­tient record, but can only see pa­tients as­signed to the said doc­tor; if as­sign­ment is missed at reg­is­tra­tion, the doc­tor can’t see the pa­tient’s records).

HIPAA it­self is nearly 20 years old. The Health In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy for Eco­nomic and Clin­i­cal Health Act adds clar­ity, but the med­i­cal com­mu­nity de­pended on the tech com­mu­nity to get us into this brave new world and in many ways it failed us with pro­pri­etary stands on shar­ing in­for­ma­tion and plat­forms. They knew their cus­tomers were bar­rel­ing to­ward this mo­ment and in­stead of com­mu­ni­cat­ing then, they dragged their feet un­til the out­cry for in­ter­op­er­abil­ity be­came too loud to ig­nore. I don’t want to pat them on the back. I want to ask them, “What took you so long?” Also, “How much are you go­ing to charge me for all the up­grades I’m most as­suredly go­ing to re­quire?”

Brette E.M. Wil­liams

Mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor

Ever­est A/R Man­age­ment Group

Gainesville, Fla.

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