Can We Talk?

By: Amish Shah, MD, MPH, ReferWell.
EMR connectivity is an issue in health care
Health care industry has a message for EMR developers: “We need to talk.”

The last decade has seen the rapid adoption of the electronic medical record (EMR). While a few major EMR software companies have become familiar names, the overall market is very fragmented, with a dizzying array of products available for almost every type of practice, budget and clinical need. But the health care industry has a message for EMR developers: “We need to talk.”

While each EMR features proprietary features and a unique user interface, there is almost never a way to share information across EMRs. Since they were never designed to talk to each other, clinicians have been left with a busy signal when networks form, entities merge, or information must be shared for patient or provider benefit.

Several industry leaders and the federal government recognize the problem. West Health Group CEO Nicholas Valeriani writes “The current lack of interoperability within clinical information systems results in needless delay, duplication, error, and preventable patient harms… [It] frustrates the coordination of care that is essential to having optimal, patient-centered healthcare.” The American Hospital Association, American Medical Group Association and Electronic Health Record Association echoed these sentiments in letters to Congress.

Karen DeSalvo, MD, the National Coordinator for Health IT, has stated that interoperability is one of the US government’s top priorities in health care over the next 10 years. Some groups such as HL7 have made significant progress establishing standards by developing a common language. But they face challenges, as EMR developers have different incentives and big stakeholders can’t agree on how those standards should be established, making a short-term solution very unlikely.

Fortunately there is a new solution. ReferWell uses custom integrations and our simple yet robust web-based platform to allow today’s health care network to share information seamlessly across providers and different EMRs. We make it easy to share data, track patients, and keep your network humming with full HIPAA compliance.

If you need to talk, we’re on the other end of the line. Contact us today.