Premier: EHR vendors must move away from 'locked' proprietary systems

The Premier healthcare alliance has recommended several strategies to improve the utility of health data in response to the Senate Finance Committee's request for input.

In an Aug. 18 letter to Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Blair Childs, Premier's senior vice president of public affairs, called for electronic health record vendors to be required to use open application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve interoperability, rather than "locked" proprietary systems.

"[I]t may be necessary for the Office of the National Coordinator to lead, through government action, by requiring open APIs for data elements in the EHRs to be interoperable. It is essential that we move as quickly as possible to open APIs," the letter states.

Premier also recommends that qualified researchers should have access to clinical data from EHRs, the government should allow publicly funded data be de-identified pursuant to HIPAA for research and that there should be expanded efforts to incentivize interoperability, as well as inclusion of behavioral health, home health and long-term care data. Letter (.pdf)