Is Interoperability the new bubble?

The EHRs developed in past decades are expected to be interoperable – is this is a “huge expectation” or is this  “just another wish” or is there “nothing so great about it”?

We have become so accustomed to carrying medical records from one hospital/physician to another and going through  grueling rounds of medical tests and reports that we never questioned the status quo.

Why didn’t my current physician share my medical records electronically with my new physician? – Are the EHRs not scaled  to share data? Or is there some hidden secret of not sharing data between eligible entities? Are the standards to be blamed for not accommodating this feature ?

I think these barriers will surely be overcome in the near future. Multiple initiatives or approaches are being taken to resolve the medical records interoperability issue. Among them, a few are:

  • HIPAA compliance makes it mandatory to make healthcare data portable.
  • At the same time, hospitals start seeing the benefits they receive by being interoperable.
  • An angle added to the benefits is that the hospitals will not get monetary benefits if they aren’t interoperable in terms of reimbursement.
  • The claims denial from insurance companies if the same tests are prescribed by multiple physicians. Insurance companies may deny claims if the same tests are prescribed by multiple physicians.
  • Acceptance of tests conducted by hospitals in the ACOs.

I am confident that the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs for the meaningful use of certified EHR technology will take the exchange of medical records to the next level.

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