Providers, apparently tired of waiting for vendors or the government to help foster data exchange, are taking matters into their own hands and designing their own solutions to achieve interoperability.
For instance, Geisinger Health Systems has founded xG Health Solutions, which announced earlier this month that it has connected a software application to a Cerner electronic health record by using a new draft standard developed by HL7. Geisinger also has developed a rheumatology app to interact with an Epic EHR.
Meanwhile, Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, CEO recently stated that his facility has also developed its own API in order to achieve interoperability, according to an article in Lab Soft News.
Interoperability is one of the top goals for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which recently created a 10 year roadmap and requires increased data exchange in order to meet the requirements of the Meaningful Use program. However, barriers to data exchange persist, including unchanged provider practice patterns, tepid interest on the part of providers not in the program, and lack of standardization of EHRs. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has flagged the secure exchange of electronic health information as one of the biggest management and performance challenges facing HHS in the coming year.
Vendors increasingly have been accused of hindering interoperability in order to retain clients and increase profits. Epic, in particular, has been accused of impeding data sharing with a closed platform that causes smaller providers to either purchase Epic systems or join larger networks. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) has gone so far as to accuse Epic of committing fraud against the American taxpayer. Epic disputes the criticisms, saying that its systems are interoperable.