Viewpoint: Tech companies, hospitals making 'fortune' from incompatible systems

A more interoperable health system will improve health outcomes and efficiency, wrote David Brailer, MD, PhD, former health IT czar under President George W. Bush, in an op-ed for The Hill. However, achieving this goal will require tech companies and hospitals to stop viewing consumer-owned data as a threat.  

Appointed in 2004, Dr. Brailer was the first national coordinator for health IT. Since the position was created, every presidency has prioritized making access to personal health information a priority, yet little progress has been made, according to Dr. Brailer. Hospitals and health systems have EHRs with web portals, but they are not useful, he wrote. Patients largely do not have access to a complete digital version of their personal health records.

Two rules proposed under the 21st Century Cures Act are poised to change this narrative. These rules aim to give patients free access to their medical records and help the industry adopt standardized application programming interfaces. They would also create a reporting system for information blocking. Dr. Brailer called them "fundamentally necessary" to improving our health. Now hospitals and tech companies need to get on board, he said.  

"The proposed rules are open for comment now and it is no surprise that technology companies, hospitals and physician associations are fighting them," Dr. Brailer wrote. "They drape their criticisms in looking out for the patient, but what they aren't saying is that they make a fortune off of the current system."

Read the full viewpoint here.


More articles on EHRs and interoperability:

New Hampshire hospital transitions to Epic EHR
House earmarks $1.6B for VA's EHR implementation in 2020
Illinois hospital chooses Epic EHR: 3 notes

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