As it nears the launch of its interoperability pilot project, officials from the CommonWell Health Alliance used AHIMA’s annual conference to outline some of the toughest health information exchange challenges facing vendors and providers today.
“If you want to share information with 5 organizations, you need 10 contracts,” Dan Schipfer, senior vice president at Cerner said Monday morning, explaining that regional HIE is happening, but thus far it is limited to local exchange.
“We EHR vendors have not made it easy for you to interoperate,” within the nomenclature and the organization, he said. “It’s a big deal, it’s something you believe in, we believe in, but there are challenges.”
Joining Schipfer on stage, Patrice Wolfe, senior vice president of McKesson’s RelayHealth unit, outlined what she see as the top 3 challenges.
- Patient matching. Simply put, there is no single way to match patients, which is among CommonWell’s chief goals.
- Data access. Health information today lives in silos, and even among integrated delivery networks, doctors don’t always get the entire picture of a patient’s record.
- Cost. This one cannot be underestimated, Wolfe said; after CommonWell launched at HIMSS13 “hospitals were begging to be part of the pilot,” Wolfe said.
Considering the pilot as infrastructure that would enable HIE, Wolfe said that we as a nation have to be able to pull data nationally, not just regionally.
That’s why CommonWell is creating a database of consenting patients, which Wolfe was careful to explain is not a central repository of clinical information, to address business deterrents that Schipfer rattled off, including cost, competition, complexity, and consent.
Wolfe added that CommonWell is working to deliver a handful of tasks such as registering organizations, enrolling people, matching patients, and querying documents.
“We think we have a better mousetrap,” Wolfe said. “Let’s let the basic plumbing get done once and share it across the vendors.”