KLAS: Only 6 percent of providers hit interoperability 'home runs'

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Most providers can’t obtain patient information from other providers, let alone use it effectively to improve care, according to a report published this month by KLAS Research.

The 2016 interoperability report found that respondents could reasonably access information from exchange partners on a different electronic health record 28 percent of the time, which KLAS referred to as the “first base” of interoperability. Only 13 percent found those exchanged records easy-to-locate (second base). When adding whether the data received and located was integrated into a clinician’s workflow (third base), only 8 percent of providers answered in the affirmative. Only 6 percent found that the patient data exchanged facilitated improvement of patient care (the “home run”).

The problems were experienced across all facility types and with all vendors.

Providers also reported optimism about the potential of initiatives like CommonWell and Carequality to improve interoperability, but only a “relatively small subset’ of providers were actually sharing data.

“No vendor community stood out as exceptional in consistently and effectively sharing with partners using a different EHR,” KLAS Vice Prescient of Provider relations Bob Cash said. "The good news? Vendors and providers seem committed to working through challenges identified in the study, and this year’s findings will serve as a baseline for tracking progress in coming years."

In a related blog post, KLAS noted that the healthcare industry had “unique” concerns, and that the need went beyond mere sharing of data.

“Many clinicians with little or no access to outside data feel that just accessing records is all they need,” KLAS said in the post. "However, those clinicians who have begun walking the long road to impactful data exchange understand that gaining access represents just the tip of the iceberg. True interoperability comes when patient data is delivered in such a way that it has a positive impact on the quality of care. For that to occur, vendors and healthcare providers need to work together to accomplish effective data exchange."