EMR Interoperability – An in-depth Analysis

Even since the introduction of EMR the health IT industry has been making considerable changes to the technology. With each passing day, we witness a new feature or a systematic change made within EMR applications, such as the introduction of Cloud EMRs. One can identify a plethora of advantages that cloud EMRs have brought to the healthcare system. No doubt, EMR vendors have taken and are still taking the increasing competition seriously. It did not take them much time to realize that they key to capture market share is to meet the demands of healthcare professionals.

Although healthcare providers have their own concerns related to the usability of the EMR solution, the government’s meaningful use requirement did not back out from increasing the physicians’ demands either. It is the issue of EMR interoperability that I am talking about. Being part of the health IT industry, today, almost everyone is aware of the significance that interoperability has attached to it. Physicians who have been implementing EMRs for a long time now, have started taking the matter of EMR interoperability seriously. After all, interoperability is considered to change the dynamics of the healthcare industry. Imagine the ease with which health information would be easily exchanged with healthcare providers both within and outside single premises. Definitely, the extent of care coordination is likely to augment.

“Although vendors are responsible for keeping their EMRs updated, physicians should not sit back and risk their meaningful use financial incentive funds. It is high time when physicians start making the vendors realize the importance of meeting their demands and requirements. And this applies to both the existing and potential clients. I am sure vendors would not want to take the matter easily as well”, says a New Jersey based health IT consultant.

While is it not absurd to believe that it is the vendor’s responsibility to ensure that their product accommodates interoperability, physicians and healthcare institutions should not sit back without raising their mounting concern in front of the vendors. The rationale is simple; where complying with the meaningful use objectives would help physicians get their hands on thousands of dollars, straying away would not only lead to losing the incentive funds but also result in financial penalties – coming in terms of reduced reimbursements.

As covered in a leading health IT related magazine, emphasizing on the importance of EMR interoperability, Farzad Mostashari, MD of the ONC, said that physicians should report to the ONC if their vendors fail to comply with the interoperability issues, and their issue would be paid due importance.

After introducing cloud EMR technology, vendors now try to innovate the solution with every passing day. Where the issue of EMR interoperability is of vital importance for physicians, it is surely an attention paying issue for EMR vendors too.

 

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One Response to EMR Interoperability – An in-depth Analysis

  1. R Troy says:

    In one doctor’s office that I know of, the ‘office manager’ is in charge of getting and implementing an EHR. I’m guessing that she’s barely able to deal with the problems of their office management system. She probably has little to no understanding of MU – any stage, and is unwilling to take any help – even for free, in dealing with these problems. The partners in the practice are willing to go see EHR’s in other practices, and will make the buy / no-buy decision, but there’s no way they will even lift a finger to help. Personally, I smell disaster in the making, and I’m guessing that this is just one of a great many practices that is ‘trying to do something’ but with no one in charge who actually has a clue. EVEN if they get an EHR up and running, I’m guessing that backup will be a mess, that no one will know how to deal with a MU dashboard, and that’s just stage 1. When the vendor rolls out updates, it will likely be even messier.

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