Pay now or pay later: how much consistency should EHR APIs have?
The JASON report calls for EHRs to expose all the data through an API. But variability is one of the key barriers to interoperability in healthcare. Vendors do things differently. Providers do things differently. Individual doctors do things differently. Exposing all the existing data merely exposes all this variation, and sorting through the data will be a gargantuan – and $$$Expensive – challenge. So instead, we could try and standardize things up front to reduce the variability, and therefore the cost of leveraging the data. But standardizing is expensive (and slow) – the more we try to standardize, the more it costs to get there – and what happens to the legacy data? The optimum is probably somewhere in the middle: standardise what you can achieve, and leave the rest. The problem is, in order to really find the optimum, we need to agree to what the use cases we’re going to focus on for leveraging the exposed data….
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