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More than two dozen emails that POLITICO obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal in excruciating detail the variety of roadblocks — some possibly incidental, others intentional — that frustrate transmission of health data and thereby health care delivery.
The emails come from an account CMS set up last June to solicit feedback on blocking. “We would like to hear about every example — small, medium, large — when someone is getting in the way of interoperability,” Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt declared at the annual HIMSS meeting.
Thanks to POLITICO for obtaining the emails sent to the CMS about health data blocking. It appears many of the complaints are aimed at the various interfacing fees EHRs charge customers. Building and connnecting interfaces requires work, so it's not entirely fair to expect EHRs to offer this service for free; however, a standardized and more transparent dialogue between vendors and their customers about interfacing costs should be releaved prior to contracts being finalized.
One of the largest obstacles in creating a value-based system is the current siloed and dispersed nature of integrated hospital IT applications and the myriad sources of patient data at each facility. Regardless of location, most EHRs or information systems were not designed to share data or to be interoperable with other systems.
It could be argued that the Meaningful Use program erred in not first requiring Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform... systems to adhere to a strict health data standard to encourage the sharing of health data between systems. The government now appears to recognize the problems caused by the closed EHR databases that are prevalent across the country.
Here at Corepoint, we're seeing more and more healthcare providers moving away from relying on EHR vendors to build and maintain interfaces. In fact, we believe that building and creating a interoperable data foundation is the only feesible way to gain control of all the health data within the organization.
Today's healthcare IT departments need a central command unit to help guilde the flow of data between applications and systems, and to ensure that each caregiver and colleague has the right patient data, with the right insights, and the right time.
We call this foundation a strategic data framework, and we're seeing our customers break down data siloes and improve patient care with data.