Viewing patient data as a commercial asset hinders health IT interoperability

Viewing patient data as a commercial asset hinders health IT interoperability

January 22, 2020

Ubiquitous health IT interoperability will result in clearer communication from and within a patient’s care team, and better coordination of care for patients. When clinicians have a holistic view of patients’ healthcare needs and treatments, they can avoid ordering duplicate tests, and ultimately deliver higher care quality and better health outcomes.

All of us in the health IT industry have a shared responsibility to make interoperability a practical reality. For years, vendors like PatientKeeper have integrated patient data from multiple systems within a hospital or health system into a single platform -- a “system of engagement” enabling physicians to access and act on patient information conveniently. One might think of this as “micro-interoperability.” The broader goal – let’s call it “macro-interoperability” -- still lies ahead and demands the focused attention of all industry players, for the good of patients, clinicians and society at large.

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Given all we in the healthcare IT industry have accomplished to date, I am confident we can do this, too. But it will require that we wake up and recognize that patients’ interests ultimately trump any narrow view of our proprietary commercial interests, and that our companies will fare better by delivering better, collectively, for clinicians and patients.

About the author: Sally Buta is the chief technology officer and co-founder of PatientKeeper, Inc.

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