Many health care organizations are lagging behind in evaluating their health information exchange and interoperability needs, according to a new white paper by the research firm ECRI Institute, Healthcare IT News reports.
The paper -- titled, "Crossing the Connectivity Chasm: Pinpointing Gaps in Readiness to Exchange Health Information" -- describes the results of a survey conducted by ECRI and its strategic partner s2a (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 10/2).
For the white paper, ECRI and s2a surveyed 132 health care professionals who work at hospitals, health systems or integrated delivery networks (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 10/2).
The survey found that 93% of respondents cited health information system interoperability as one of their organization's top strategic priorities. However, only 54% said that their organization has started evaluating its health data exchange and interoperability needs.
The survey also found that:
- 65% of respondents said that their organization has started using IT to analyze and manage population health information;
- 60% said that their organization has developed standards for interoperability between electronic health record systems and medical devices;
- 28% said that non-affiliated health care providers have access to their organization's clinical information systems; and
- 24% said that their organization's EHR system can electronically exchange information with health care providers who are using different EHR systems (Pearson, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 10/2).
Comments on Findings
The white paper's authors wrote, "Failure to identify and address critical gaps could prove costly downstream as unanticipated impediments to exchanging critical information may arise for essential patient care, quality, or cost information." They added, "In some cases these gaps could present obstacles to meeting meaningful use goals and in implementing an [accountable care organization]."
According to the report's authors, health care providers must be "proactive" about assessing their interoperability needs, which will ensure they are able to "navigate through potentially costly and disruptive surprises" (FierceHealthIT, 10/2).