At a Senate Committee hearing on Capitol Hill yesterday, there was a lot of talk about “information blocking” among EHR vendors and how true interoperability can’t be achieved until all EHRs can easily send patient data outside of their own proprietary systems.
Get Real Health has confronted this problem for years. The concerns we heard on the Senate floor around inappropriate data blocking and sub-standard data quality are truly hindering organizations’ ability to move forward with their patient engagement strategies that will ultimately reduce healthcare spending and improve outcomes.
One of the biggest challenges we face is EHRs putting up roadblocks that force providers to use their tethered portal. Those providers that decide to use third-party untethered portals still face the challenge of EHRs’ dependency to generate C-CDAs through their own tethered portal as opposed to in the EHR itself. This is a problem because it forces providers to use tethered portals or face additional development costs and extended timelines.
“This is a major setback for large healthcare systems and state HIEs who are trying to offer patients a single point of access for all of their data,” said Christina Caraballo, senior healthcare strategist for Get Real Health. “While we applaud ONC addressing this issue in the 2015 edition certification criteria proposed rule, we’re disappointed that these issues have caused major delays for those organizations’ leading the way in patient engagement.”
Despite many EHR vendors touting their open APIs, providers are learning that the reality is quite different. “Get Real Health is on the forefront of making patient engagement truly interoperable. Our patient engagement platform is one of the few on the market that can talk to any system, making for seamless information flow,” said Robin Wiener, president of Get Real Health. “It’s a very attainable goal. We hope EHR vendors will break down the silos to allow for an interoperable healthcare system.”
At the center of this issue is need for vendors to create products that focus on the patient, not the bottom line. Since its inception, Get Real Health has built products with the patient squarely in the center. “The whole point of Meaningful Use requirements is to streamline—and, consequently, improve—patient care,” said Caraballo. “The only way we can do that successfully is to create systems that interact with one another without placing an undue burden on the providers or the patients. We’ve done that, and EHR vendors can do that, too.”