KLAS & CHIME issue call to action for interoperability
Joint study spotlights opportunities to advance data sharing and information exchange
Interoperability 2015 Joint Study: Current State & Next Steps: Market Immaturity Highlights Opportunities
Providers and vendors identify the lack of cohesive standards and a national patient identifier as two of the biggest barriers to advancing the interoperability of electronic medical record systems, according to a study conducted by KLAS and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). “Interoperability 2015: Current State and Next Steps,” published today, also highlights specific ideas for improving the current state of data sharing, starting with collaboration among healthcare professionals, vendors, industry associations and the government.
Interoperability is a complex problem. An electronic medical record can contain as many as 100,000 different data fields, and over the years, EMR vendors have developed different data fields within their systems. On top of that, providers often request customized fields for their institutions. The lack of specific, deep and uniformly adopted standards makes data sharing a clumsy process, the report found. Creating better data flow between providers is essential as the healthcare industry transitions to a value-based delivery model and reimbursement system.
Over a three-month period, KLAS interviewed senior leaders from more than 240 provider and 15 vendor organizations, soliciting their input on advances in and barriers to interoperability. CHIME members helped develop the questionnaire. Most providers interviewed for the study see data sharing as inevitable as healthcare evolves; 98 percent say that they are willing to share data, but 82 percent claim that their competitors are unwilling to do so.
“KLAS is grateful for the opportunity to partner with CHIME on this study. We are shining a light on how both providers and vendors are committed to solving interoperability problems and proactively taking opportunities to improve healthcare,” said KLAS President Adam Gale. “Having connectivity that allows information to be exchanged easily and without disruption is vital to the patient’s care. We currently don’t enjoy that level of sharing, and we’ve come to a point where it’s time to make that happen through industry collaboration around a unified goal.”
The report identified six key areas that, if addressed, could accelerate interoperability:
1. Align incentives: Providers and vendors must see data sharing as essential to providing better care and for their business objectives.
2. Robust legal governance: All parties must be confident that they are in compliance with privacy and security laws.
3. Record location: Clinicians must be confident that they can locate all records about a patient encounter and that patient identification is accurate.
4. Clear context/standards for sharing: Data must be labeled in such a way that it can be accurately identified and effectively used by the receiving
5. Adoption into clinical workflow: Busy clinicians must be able to appropriately view incoming data.
6. Data security: Only designated parties should have access to patient data.
“This is an important study,” said CHIME CEO and President Russell Branzell. “The data show that there is a lot of activity around health information exchange and data sharing. Providers and vendors, however, agree that effective management and use of standards is critical to moving forward. Importantly, the study also points to the challenge of patient identification as a major barrier to creating an interoperable healthcare network. This report should serve as a call to action to the industry and policymakers to address some of these critical areas.”
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,700 CIO members and over 150 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit chimecentral.org.