Getting connected — by federal mandate?

Will it take yet another government mandate for connectivity between hospitals to occur?

An interesting article in the “New York Times” entitled “Doctors find barriers to sharing digital medical records” succinctly describes the problem that still persists in the evolution of patient documentation

NEMT CEO Linda Sullivan

Going back to 2008 when the HITECH Act was passed, one of the primary goals was easy yet secure accessibility of our medical records regardless of where we were geographically.

According to the article, only 14% of physicians are able to exchange patient data outside of their own systems. While this lack of connectivity is common between nearly all systems, Epic was sighted as a prime culprit, no doubt because of the huge number of installations they have implemented.

Epic’s business model is sustainable long-term because not only are they paid handsomely for implementing their systems, they charge ongoing fees for many things, including transmittal of patient documentation to another system. That’s a great profit center, which costs them nothing once the software is in place.

I am certain connectivity between systems will occur. The question is: What will it take to make it happen, and when?

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