HIEs push for interoperability to support population health

The financial burden of health information exchange (HIE) and the difficulty of wrangling multiple vendors into some sense of interoperability are among the top challenges facing the national health IT infrastructure and the shift towards population health management, according to the eHealth Initiative’s 2014 survey.  While Stage 2 of meaningful use has pushed the industry towards wider adoption of Direct messaging and registry reporting, providers have a long road to travel before data exchange becomes simple and seamless across the care continuum.

The 11th annual survey included 135 respondents, most of which were community-based health information organizations, statewide HIE efforts, and healthcare delivery organizations.  When asked about their top challenges for building a data exchange infrastructure with their hospital, lab, ambulatory, and community health provider partners, the most frequent answer was “financial costs.”  Forty-seven percent indicated that getting consistent and timely responses from EHR and HIE product vendors was a chief concern, while the technical difficulty of building an interface, implementing data standards, and meeting end user expectations also ranked highly on the list.

The majority of organizations have to interface with up to ten EHR vendors, while 18 organizations have had to build more than 25 interfaces to patch together all applicable systems.  To overcome these obstacles, the participants would like to see standardized pricing from vendors who offer integrated solutions, plug-and-play technology platforms, and a greater industry-wide interest in HIE and data standards.

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