Americans are on the move. And millennials are known to be itching for adventure and challenge. From a different location, to a different job, no young person will likely stay with their current employer for more than a couple years, on average. With that comes a higher probability of switching healthcare insurance and primary care providers. As a college student living more than 2,000 miles away from my hometown primary care provider, I have been serviced by many physicians.
Granted, some of them have been mom-n-pop style offices where paper records are still the norm. But even for larger style hospitals, I have to fill out form, after form, after form. In the world of Tesla, smartwatches, and drones, Interoperability looks desperate to catch up. Paper records have some pluses but the digital revolution overpowered them. A peer60 study reported that hundreds of medical professionals believe interoperability would improve their clinical outcomes and even improve patient-client interaction.
Even so, interoperability is still broken. Some say they lament that healthcare IT systems are still non-communicative and disconnected at too many imports. Surprisingly, a bare majority (about 50 percent) say the federal government is the best vehicle to make interoperability magic. Nonetheless, the federal government is taking a commanding role. Congress has devised a roadmap to motivate healthcare IT stakeholders to better secure and share access to patient information. The stated purposes of the roadmap (that had stakeholder input) was to achieve a “learning health system where individuals are at the center of their” and “providers have a seamless ability to securely access and use health information from different sources.”
But, a new industry development, FHIR or Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources looks to shake things even further. According to the developers, “FHIR solutions are built from a set of modular components called ‘Resources’. These resources can easily be assembled into working systems that solve real world clinical and administrative problems at a fraction of the price of existing alternatives. FHIR is suitable for use in a wide variety of contexts – mobile phone apps, cloud communications, EHR-based data sharing, server communication in large institutional healthcare providers, and much more.”
Externally and internally, medical providers exchange patient data to get to the business of care and treatment. How soon can interoperability deliver the desired benefits?