Although the industry had made progress in the quest for interoperability, there’s still a ways to go, according to new research from the Center for Connected Medicine. In fact, not only are efforts falling short, but there’s still a common belief that the solution lies in moving to a single, integrated EHR platform.
Technology leaders at hospitals and health systems around the country were surveyed for the study, which found that nearly a third indicate their data-sharing efforts are insufficient, even within their own organizations, and fewer than 40 percent say they are successfully sharing data with other health systems.
“This survey supports other research we have conducted, which shows that health care is making strides advancing interoperability,” said Janet King, senior director of market insights at HIMSS Media, which conducted the research for the CCM in June. “However, this research also suggests providers feel most successful at sharing data within their own health systems, and less often report success sharing medical data with payers, patients or other health systems and partners.
The research, which surveyed 100 IT and business professionals at U.S. hospitals, examined how well health care organizations are prepared to successfully share data, how those challenges are affecting organizational priorities.
Nearly 60 percent of the respondents cited moving to one EHR as an organizational step being taken to overcome interoperability challenges, while just 37 percent said they were adopting exchange standards such as FHIR.
This lack of interoperability is making it difficult for health systems to pursue key strategic goals, including enabling patient-facing apps, tapping into unstructured data and reducing the cost of care. In fact, only 27 percent of respondents said their organizations’ work to improve interoperability had allowed them to reduce the cost of care, while 60 percent said they were highly effective at meeting the regulatory and compliance requirements posed by interoperability.
Of course, for most organizations, it’s not a question of why data sharing needs to happen, but how. According to the survey, the most crucial elements needed to drive interoperability include commitment by senior leadership, financial incentives or penalties that encourage data exchange (both with one another as well as with individual patients), and advances in tools and technologies.
Joint operated by GE Healthcare, Nokia, and UPMC, the Center for Connected Medicine was created to facilitate connections and provide resources that support executives pursuing care improvement and innovation through technology.
To download the report, “Improving Health Care Interoperability: Are We Making Progress?,” click here.