Finalized Interoperability Rules Hold Health IT Developers Accountable, Sparking Demand for Innovative EHR Browser Extensions
By Phil Giarth, director of product, DataLink.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently finalized a new rule to support seamless and secure access, exchange and use of electronic health information (EHI). The legislation aims to drive sharing of patient EHI, allowing for greater coordination of care. It also takes a strong stance against information blocking and would hold health IT developers accountable as a condition of certification.
The regulations take a crucial step forward for nationwide interoperability and health care by requiring open, standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) for patient and population services. The rule is designed to promote data transparency between health organizations through a central and secure exchange of EHI. For hospital systems, this includes clinical notes and admits, discharges and transfer (ADT) files. For payers, this includes anything from claims to clinical data, including labs, pharmacy, immunizations and vitals.
For stakeholders, having access to real time and actionable information at the point of care is a significant improvement over information from claims filed 60-90 days after the care was provided. This also demands that patients be fully informed about how apps will use their personal data and information.
As many health IT developers know, the challenge is that EHRs are only as good as the information fed into them. The moment a patient goes outside of that circle of care, the user loses all sight into the services being provided.
Improving on the Current EHR
The current absence of interoperability creates a burden for hospital systems and undermines payer efforts to achieve high quality care and more appropriate utilization. It also impacts reimbursement and profits. When more information is shared historically, it allows payers to manage the whole patient experience.
This is where an innovative EHR browser extension comes in.
The ideal browser extension serves as a population health solution built upon an EHR foundation and completes the circle of care by aggregating information through continuity of care documents, claims, labs, health information exchanges, vendors, ancillary providers and hospitalists groups to not only answer the question of “who is in my office now?” but also “who should be in my office?”
This is done through alerts, defaulted based on the systems history, or on the specific user based on what they care to see. The concept centers on creating a user journey that notifies the provider of an admission through real-time application programming interfaces (APIs), sending care alerts to the case manager, flagging the risk-bearing entity to a potential future cost and relevant information to patients and caretakers via a mobile app.