posted at 22:50
Author: Kia Kokalitcheva
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 05:01:28 +0000
Doctors are using digital tools that cant talk to each other
According to Athenahealth's Dan Haley and Surescripts' Seth Joseph, speaking onstage today at our HealthBeat 2014 conference, the U.S. government has set such a low bar for the technology that despite the wide adoption of electronic health records, these new systems still can't communicate with each other. Athenahealth is a provider of EHR tools and health practice management tools, while Surescripts connects the various parts of the health industry including pharmacies, providers, benefit managers, and health information exchanges. In 2009, just 12 percent of hospitals used EHRs; in 2013 that had risen to 59 percent, according to a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services. What's even more important, the two say, is for regulatory reform on the sharing of health care information. "The fundamental impediment to information sharing in health care [is that] sharing information is a felony. In health care, if you have a piece of info that I want, and I pay you for it, it's a 'kickback,'" Haley said. First, although privacy concerns are definitely important and should remain a priority, we need to find a way to open up the sharing of health information, which is the entire point of building tech tools that facilitate it. If privacy is respected and allowing for business models built on the sharing health information incentivizes great companies to emerge and contribute, then so be it. The government does permit for information sharing within a health organization, but that still means that such sharing is happening in small pockets around the larger ecosystem.

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