EHR interoperability is viewed by many industry stakeholders as a key factor towards improving health care delivery and outcomes. To date, however, the exchange of health data from one system to another has been limited. Although federal initiatives including meaningful use hope to drive interoperability on a wide scale basis, the process relies on healthcare providers and other nonfederal entities.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report reviewing the impact of efforts by nonfederal entities in developing infrastructures and processes that could lead to nationwide interoperability. You can view and read the report here.
The report in detail looks at:
- Characteristics of selected nonfederal initiatives intended to facilitate EHR interoperability
- Key challenges related to EHR interoperability and the extent to which selected nonfederal initiatives are addressing these challenges.
In interviewing stakeholders, representatives described five challenges to achieving interoperability:
- Insufficiencies in health data standards
- Variation in state privacy rules
- Accurately matching patients’ health records
- Costs associated with interoperability
- Need for governance and trust among entities, such as agreements to facilitate the sharing of information among
While each of these challenges are being addressed by some initiatives, the report concludes that to move interoperability forward “providers need to see an EHR system as a valuable tool for improving clinical care.”