Five Common Hurdles Faced in Healthcare Interoperability

Five Common Hurdles Faced in Healthcare Interoperability

Alex D'Souza, Healthcare Tech Outlook | Wednesday, June 08, 2022

There are several challenges for maintaining and achieving interoperable EHRs that an organization must overcome.

Fremont, CA: The concept of electronic health record interoperability has been around for a while. Healthcare providers have to make sure they are not becoming information blockers. Providers labeled as information blockers can be charged with civil penalties up to $1M.

There are many challenges for achieving and maintaining interoperable EHRs. Five common challenges with healthcare interoperability are:

Managing inconsistent information around various sources

Conflicting information across the network is a massive problem for healthcare IT vendors. Providers put different pieces of data in multiple, often disparate, places, and health IT departments waste countless hours searching for them.

Privacy and security of patient information

Maintaining the privacy of patient health records is of utmost importance and also a necessity demanded by the laws. Providers need to process electronic requests for patient information. An EHR provider’s approval is not enough as there are new training and certification requirements with the Cures Act Final Rule. Most of the providers still depend on the approval of their EHRs for sharing their data.

Overcoming data sharing resistance

Many actors in the healthcare industry do not want to share their data with the providers. Hospital systems, for example, compete with urgent care clinics for patients. When an urgent care clinic sends a request for patient data to a hospital's EHR system, the motive to disclose the information is minimal. However, the law mandates that health data be made open and accessible to providers and patients across organizational boundaries.

Cost of managing interoperability

Achieving and maintaining interoperable EHRs is a big task. Keeping up with this daily task in the healthcare industry demands a lot of costs, time, and qualifications. Especially for small organizations, it can be very costly to hire qualified personnel to maintain EHR interoperability.

Quick data availability is now a requirement

According to the Cures act final rule, the data should be instantly available. Any provider who fails to do so is labeled as a data blocker and charged a fine. Although electronic health records (EHRs) are the first-line option, the Cures Act pushes the industry into unknown territory. An out-of-date EHR certification isn't adequate to ensure compliance with the Cures Act Final Rule's new standards.

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