A recent report from HHS revealed some alarming details about meaningful use stages 1 and 2. The data studied suggests that efforts at interoperability fall far short of the necessary standards. They concluded, quite soberingly, that significant amounts of federal dollars have been spent working towards, but failing to reach, a goal that is paramount for effective HIM. We’ve condensed the report’s findings to help you extract the most vital information.

The Problem

The authors of the reports determined that the criteria for interoperability defined in meaningful use stages 1 and 2 is neither realistic nor rigorous enough to actually support the mission of interoperability. As they dove into the data and analyzed a number of real world scenarios, they concluded that gains in interoperability were shallow at best, and useless at worst.

As an example, they cited an instance in which a medical record had been digitized, but the information had not been entered into any broader system. The document could be sent back and forth through email, but not analyzed or cross referenced. That replaced the fax machine with a more efficient delivery method, but otherwise the digitization process produced nothing.

This represents the shallowest possible interpretation of interoperability, and does nothing to support the present and future needs of patients, providers, and administrators. Meaningful interoperability has been one of the primary goals of meaningful use stages 1 and 2 from the start, but this report reveals that efforts made to date have fallen short.

The Solution

Luckily, the report was not all bad news. The authors concluded it with a lengthy list of recommendations designed to correct the interoperability issues they uncovered. These are some of the most notable.

  • Embrace Stage 3 meaningful use
  • Develop overarching software architecture within 12 months
  • Encourage entrepreneurial initiatives throughout the health data management space
  • Better support the needs of researchers
  • Create flexibility for new data types and for the expansion of data pools
  • Prioritize international interoperability
  • Use data mining techniques to detect instances of fraud

The findings of the report affect every corner of the HIM sphere. They suggest that a combination of regulatory failures and underwhelming technologies have left us with a lot of distance left to travel before we realize the true potential of EHRs. If there is a silver lining, however, it’s that people are starting to take the challenges and opportunities of HIM seriously, and that professionals in this sphere will have a lot of work coming their way. If you have something to contribute, or you need professionals that can make a contribution, contact the staffing specialists at MedPartners HIM.

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