Thursday, May 29, 2014
We Are Still A Long Way From Effective Health IT Interoperability. Here and In The USA.
This appeared a little while ago.
On his first comedy album, Bill Cosby did a timeless bit called The Pep Talk where a football coach gets his team all fired up in the locker room before game time and then sends them forth… only to be stopped by a locked door.
This bit came to mind as I read a new report from the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, which along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, held a one-day conference on healthcare IT interoperability last month.
In the report, the authors urge all buyers of healthcare IT, that's healthcare systems, hospitals, practices and patients, to insist that technology vendors make their products work well with each other, share data, and support open standards.
But when I talked to the report's author, Joseph Smith MD, chief science and medical officer at the West Health Institute, I was somewhat taken aback when he told me that healthcare IT buyers have yet to make it clear they want interoperability.
"Part of the mission we have in front of us is to make the buyers aware that there's something you can ask for, and that the vendors can innovate and provide it," Smith told me. "I don't think there's been an adequate focus from the buying side of the equation to understand that if they do specify that [products] talk using open standards, the vendors, because they're trying to sell their wares… will follow that requirement."
I would argue that buyers have been like that pumped-up football team in Cosby's comedy bit. They've been fired up and loudly demanding interoperability for some time, yet too many IT vendors have too often kept the door to interoperability locked tight, denying the industry $30 billion in potential savings, according to West Health's estimate.
During the February event, organizers asked the audience what was preventing functional interoperability in medical devices and information systems. "Their dominant answer was, [it was] purposeful strategies to maintain market share and increase switching costs," Smith said.
"The assembled audience was dominantly of the opinion that this was kind of a market failure, as opposed to not having the technology available, not having sufficient standards. They were saying that this was kind of a vendor-driven reality."
Lots more here:
March 25, 2014 by Rajiv Leventhal
Medical interoperability could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings and improve patient care and safety, according to a new white paper released by the La Jolla, Calif.-based Gary and Mary West Health Institute and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).
The white paper, summarizing the HCI-DC 2014: Igniting an Interoperable Healthcare System conference, features lessons learned and synthesizing findings into a call for action to achieve an interoperable healthcare system. The West Health Institute’s HCI-DC 2014, which took place Feb. 6, 2014 in Washington D.C., and was co-hosted by ONC, brought together experts from across the healthcare community to consider how interoperability can cut costs, improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve health .
So clearly there is an issue in the US.
In Australia I believe it is fair to say we are also struggling with the same issues. The amount of effort to get even a basic Health Summary and results into the PCEHR shows the difficulty that can be faced.
To me that we see most vendors and countries struggle to arrive at comprehensive interoperability suggests it is not easy and that the problem has yet to be solved at a strategic level let alone a practical level.
In this situation I think that starting simple and working for incremental improvement is the right approach. I hope we can see real progress over the next few years with this sort of approach.
Posted by Dr David More MB PhD FACHI at Thursday, May 29, 2014