Healthcare Interoperability: Who's The Tortoise? - InformationWeek

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Healthcare Interoperability: Who's The Tortoise?
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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
12/1/2014 | 10:14:40 AM
Re: Interop should start at home
You raise some very good points, @fpoggio600. To be honest, I don't want the government to set standards. I would MUCH prefer that the healthcare industry -- and I mean that in the broadest sense possible, across all components of the vast sector -- works together to come up with its own set of standards. From what I've seen, voluntary, industry-created standards typically are much better than anything mandated by the feds, and I cannot imagine it would be any different in the case of healthcare interoperability.

Just think about how the feds wanted EHRs to deal with Ebola: They asked EHR vendors to come up with tweaks to specifically address Ebola, rather than figure out ways for EHRs to quickly adapt to ANY situation, whether it's Ebola, swine flu, anthrax, MERS, a disease I haven't heard of, or a 200-car pile-up. That type of closed-minded, illness-specific thinking is contrary to everything any industry needs today, contrary to every type of software development or digital transformation -- yet policy wonks in DC are forcing EHR developers into this mold. For one, how many top developers will want to work in an industry that mandates this approach? Two, how much will this cost EHR developers? Three, how much will this cost healthcare providers, per illness (although I believe the Ebola "fix" was free)? Four, will anyone die while they await a specific EHR module? Five, what happens if multiple conditions arrive at the same time -- flu and a 200-car pile-up, for example? 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
11/24/2014 | 9:57:37 AM
Re: What is need to drive interoperability
Ah, but you forgot the patients' role here, @Gary-El! Now we -- consumers -- are paying more and more for healthcare, are accustomed to the Amazons, the myriad online travel sites, and other disruptive online/app tools available for practically every other industry -- there is a 'bubbling up' of demand from patients for the same treatment by their healthcare providers. Now these same healthcare providers are being forced to focus on population health, on engaging with patients when they are consumers (not sick patients), and this relationship demands a two-way street. So those providers that respect patients' time, that stop demanding forms in triplicate, that share information with other providers (specialists, second opinion doctors, physicians out of and in area, etc.) will - through word of mouth and rating sites - eventually reap the rewards of this openness. 

Will it happen tomorrow? Of course not. If I've been seeing Dr. T for years, am I going to stop, simply because she doesn't work well with others? No. But I will tell you, when I look for a new specialist, how they work with others and how they share information is part of the equation.


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