Boston Children’s CEO says 70% of its patients have data on outside networks

Data exchange
At Boston Children's, the majority of patients come from other hospitals, making their data difficult to access.

When the majority of a hospital’s patients are referred by other providers, accessing patient data is a formidable task.

That’s a major consideration for Boston Children’s Hospital President and CEO Sandra L. Fenwick, who told Forbes that about 70% of the hospital’s patients “reside in another system’s network.” That makes interoperability a critical element in providing “effective and efficient care” for patients that are referred to the hospital from all over the world.

“Data is essential for the management of patients across the continuum of care,” she said. “Patients see multiple providers across multiple healthcare networks. Today the payer holds that data, soon the networks will.”

RELATED: ONC’s Genevieve Morris: Value-based payments will make the business case for interoperability

Solving interoperability shortcomings in healthcare is a primary objective of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). In May, the agency released a framework to measure interoperability. Meanwhile, researchers have said hospitals often overpay for health technology that doesn't include integrated systems.

Paul Kusserow, president and CEO of Amedisys Home Health & Hospice, echoed Fenwick’s perspective, telling Forbes that data continuity is critical to managing patients across the continuum of care. Payers have far better continuity in claims data, while providers are forced to piece together “sporadic” patient data. That disconnect has led to more data-sharing partnerships between payers and providers

“Hospitals clearly have it the worst because they’re dealing with the most acute cases with the least amount of continuous data at their hands,” he said.

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