Interoperability: Health data-sharing is lacking inside and outside of hospitals, survey says

A new Center for Connected Medicine/HIMSS Media survey of healthcare tech leaders shows that most hospitals and health systems are depending on a single, integrated EHR to solve their interoperability woes.
By Bill Siwicki
10:51 AM
Interoperability: Health data-sharing is lacking inside and outside of hospitals, survey says

A new survey of tech executives at U.S. hospitals and health systems finds nearly a third indicate their data-sharing efforts are insufficient, even within their own organizations, and fewer than four in 10 say they are successfully sharing data with other health systems.


Additionally, the most popular solution being pursued to address the interoperability challenges that have long plagued healthcare is switching to a single, integrated electronic health record system, according to the survey, conducted by HIMSS Media and sponsored by the Center for Connected Medicine.

Jointly operated by GE Healthcare, Nokia and UPMC, the Center for Connected Medicine facilitates connections and provides resources that support executives pursuing healthcare improvement and innovation through technology.

The new research, which surveyed 100 information technology and business professionals at U.S. hospitals, examined how well healthcare organizations are prepared to advance interoperability and how those challenges are affecting organizational priorities. Healthcare interoperability is widely seen as essential to improving healthcare for patients, caregivers, health systems and payers, while lowering the cost of care.

Nearly 60% of the respondents cited moving to one EHR as an organizational step being taken to overcome interoperability challenges, much higher than other actions named, such as the adoption of widely promoted healthcare exchange standards, such as FHIR, cited by 37%.


This lack of interoperability is making it difficult for health systems to pursue key strategic goals, including enabling patient-facing apps, tapping into unstructured data and reducing the cost of care. In fact, only 27% of respondents said their organizations’ work to improve interoperability had allowed them to reduce the cost of care, while 60% said they were highly effective at meeting the regulatory and compliance requirements posed by interoperability.

The most crucial elements needed to drive interoperability in healthcare, according to survey respondents, are commitment by senior leadership, financial incentives or penalties that encourage organizations to share data with one another and with individual patients, and advances in tools and technologies.


“This survey supports other research we have conducted at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which shows that healthcare is making strides advancing interoperability,” said Janet King, senior director of market insights at HIMSS Media. “However, this research also suggests providers feel most successful at sharing data within their own health systems, and less often report success sharing medical data with payers, patients, or other health systems and partners.”

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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