The promise of interoperability—which is a big word for seamless data transfer across private networks—has largely been a promise unfulfilled. This is bad for business and bad for public health.
Imagine you have just been admitted to the ER for an injury. You are not a previous patient of the hospital, and your doctor is affiliated with a different hospital system across town. One hospital uses EPIC for their EMR, the other Cerner. Today, there is no chance your current medical information (including your allergies to medicine and recent medical history) will be available to the ER physician that is treating you. This scenario is worse than just bad form; it’s frightening and unnecessary.
To help combat this persistent and dangerous problem, GE Healthcare has agreed to participate in The Sequoia Project’s Carequality Interoperability Framework. The Sequoia Project is an independent advocate for a nation-wide health information exchange. “Carequality” for short, is the group’s new public-private partnership committed to a common set of standards and specifications. The ultimate goal is a seamless transition of data across competing products and services, enabling patients to receive the highest level of care.
Right now, patient data only moves freely inside the confines of the particular technology or EMR platform. There is no national healthcare exchange. Even worse, some of the largest hospital EMR providers have adopted a defensive posture and closed off their systems, making it nearly impossible for data to be shared from clinic to hospital, hospital to clinic, or hospital to hospital.
Despite the historic shortcomings, there is plenty of reason to believe that true interoperability is within our grasp. The member organization participating in the Carequality initiative are actively building common rules, technical specifications, and participant directories to drive this new framework forward. As the work continues, GE Healthcare is pleased to be in a position to help make interoperability a reality. At HealthCo, we’re proud to be working closely with a true leader in modern healthcare IT. Putting “people before profit” is in our view not idealistic, rather, it’s the precursor to “people and profit.”