Beth Walsh September 30, 2015
Numerous stakeholders have repeatedly called for improved health IT interoperability as a first step to improved healthcare but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a report identifying ongoing barriers.
GAO reviewed 18 nonfederal initiatives geared toward advancing interoperability for the report. It did not reveal the initiatives included.
“Representatives from 10 of the initiatives noted that efforts to meet the programs’ requirements divert resources and attention from other efforts to enable interoperability,” according to the report. Representatives from 10 of the initiatives also called the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s certification efforts insufficient to achieve interoperability.
The report identified two main issues hindering interoperability, according to those interviewed: the lack of incentives for providers to share data and Meaningful Use (MU) requirements.
The GAO report outlined the following other five other challenges to EHR interoperability:
- Insufficient health data standards
- Differing privacy rules across state lines
- Matching patients with their health records
- Costs associated with interoperability
- Lack of agreements between providers to share health data
GAO selected the initiatives “judgmentally” and did not include all the approaches, challenges or actions related to achieving EHR interoperability so the information could not be generalized.
Seven of the 18 are focused on the creation of technical solutions such as “guidance to facilitate uniform implementation of standards” and five aim to encourage “providers or insurers to adopt certain policies and criteria.” The other six initiatives connect EHR systems through a technical service, enabling information exchange.
Read the complete report.