EMR’s provide value. Integrating those EMRs together provides vastly more value. Without EMRs, there is no electronic data to move. However, once the data exists, it is much more valuable if it can be summarized, moved, and shared.
Is the “EMR Revolution” about putting computers and software in doctor offices or about connecting those applications together? As someone who has worked in healthcare interoperability since 1993, you can guess that I believe both points are at least equally important. Why? Without EMRs, there is no electronic data to move. However, once the data exists, it is much more valuable if it can be summarized, moved, and shared.
As a co-chair in the HL7 standards organization, you can further guess that I strongly believe that standards that can be implemented in the real world are the way to achieve this data movement.
The challenge: Regardless of the technology, there are always business and (often many) political issues associated with the data movement. Technical types who build interfaces often forget about or ignore the non-technical issues.
On today’s Marketplace radio show there was a deeply (IMO) thought-provoking commentary by Dr. Peter Bach on the real “next step” in if EMRs are going to reach maximum value. He discusses the challenges of inter-connectivity and the business issues around doctor-patient relationships.
The most critical business points Dr Bach makes (obviously YMMV):
“Most important, doctors and hospitals don’t want [inter-connectivity] to happen. After all, they’ve spent a lot of money getting you as a patient, buying ads in the newspaper and creating their brand. You are a revenue-generating asset, made stickier because your records are in their possession. They don’t want you to go to another doctor who might be better or cheaper. Hanging on to your records means hanging on to you.”
“[R]emember that whether or not there’s a computer in every doctor’s office is not what matters, it’s what it’s wired to that does.”
Latest posts by Dave Shaver (see all)
- HL7 ADT Q&A with Dave Shaver - July 2, 2014
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- Note from the Field: Meditech 6.0 HL7 Integration - September 6, 2011