Healthcare IT

One of the big issues in healthcare IT is and has been interoperability. Interoperability not only of systems, but of data. We’ve discussed eMAR, but that information is not just critical in the present environment of the patient, say a hospital or nursing home, but its important that data stay with the patient wherever they go. What happens when they check out of a facility? There needs to be a continuum of data, from the time they first were admitted in one facility to when they check into another facility. Suppose they check into a nursing home, then goto the hospital and then to an assisted living facility? What if each facility uses a different pharmacy?

When it comes to interoperability, just exchanging data is the beginning. That data has to be properly mapped and of course accurate. This is not an easy task as some documents are PDFs which then need software to extract the fields out of the PDF and then determine where this data goes. In a long chain of checking in and out of different facilities and using different pharmacies, this can be a headache. The problem is that the data, then is just data, when no proper mapping, and other attributes such as dates, times, and locations, you can’t get an overall picture of the patients care over the long term.

In February, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) attempted to begin to address some of these issues with a roadmap for healthcare IT interoperability which included data exchange between long-term care and acute care. This proposal, Connecting Health and Care for ordering cialis online safe the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0, is part of the ONC’s 10-year plan to healthcare IT organizations to deliver healthcare more efficiently and cost-effectively. 

The proposed interoperability roadmap follows the ONC’s December proposal to expand the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentives Program to include beyond acute care, since healthcare IT adoption “remains low among providers practicing in long-term services and supports, post-acute care and behavioral health settings,” the December report noted.