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“Exclusivity” is a Bad Word When it Comes to Patient Information Sharing

In a new Market Spotlight by IDC researcher Judy Hanover, she discusses the often rocky road of patient information sharing in healthcare, the contentious topic of interoperability as it relates to patient information sharing, and the importance of getting it right.  Judy will be presenting her findings on 24 March in a webinar – “The Rocky Road to Patient Information Sharing in the Health Network”.

Interoperability is one of the most widely used terms in healthcare information exchange today.  It eludes many healthcare organizations that are struggling to achieve it, forcing many to give up the cause along the way.  Yet, interoperability is not a lost cause, and achieving it doesn’t need to be either.

So, why do so many healthcare providers, networks and organizations struggle to achieve interoperability when exchanging patient information across multiple providers?  The answer is usually found in technology gaps and exclusivity, rather than “inclusivity”.

Despite the claims of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors regarding EMR systems, these widely used tools have done little to help the exchange of information across different EMR systems.  A recent survey of nearly 3,000 medical professionals state that the biggest barrier to interoperability is EMR technical incompatibility.

Eighty-six percent of those surveyed stated that the major barrier to interoperability of health systems is “EMR systems that are not capable of sharing information with other EMR systems because of technical shortcomings or incompatibility”[i].  This presents a barrier with forbidding impact: the inability to effectively exchange patient information leads to incomplete medical records, missed or delayed diagnosis, repeat tests performed because of missing information, and so the list goes on.

Surprisingly, the same survey found that 63% of respondents stated the #2 reason for interoperability was “EMR vendors’ unwillingness to share information with competing EMR systems despite being technically capable”.  Is this right?  Not only are EMRs not playing nicely, they may be actually boycotting the game?

Is there a network of exclusivity among the vital patient information trapped in disparate EMR systems? Surely EMR system information exchange should be inclusive to enable easy and efficient sharing of patient information with anyone, anywhere – always?

Hanover states in her report, “As it became clear that the wide array of EHR products that went into use would not create an interoperable healthcare ecosystem on their own, the Direct Project was initiated in 2010 to develop standards and protocols to facilitate interoperability and healthcare reform.”

What if you could bypass the technology gaps, shortcomings, and incompatibility of exchanging information between EMRs?  And instead, leverage technology designed to provide interoperability and rich patient information exchange among systems, regardless of the underlying platform?  Inclusivity, rather than exclusivity.

Join IDC analyst Judy Hanover on 24 March, as she presents her findings in a Market Spotlight entitled, “The Rocky Road to Patient Information Sharing in the Health Network”.  This webinar will highlight the current landscape of patient information sharing, how care fails when messaging does, and future trends in healthcare.

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[i] Interoperation Research Study, data fielded by EAS Planning, April, 2015.

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Amy Perry

Amy Perry is the Director of Product Marketing for fax and secure messaging solutions with OpenText Business Network. Her 20 year career has crossed between Product Management and Product Marketing in the CPG and software industries.

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