We have the technology to solve many of the world’s most threatening diseases. Why do we still struggle to make disparate EMRs “communicate” to each other? The good news is those dark days are fast coming to a sunny end.
Thanks to Healthcare Connections—important new complementary functionality from GE Healthcare—clinics who use Centricity will now be able to send and receive medical records to and from EPIC, Cerner, and other EMR vendors that participate in Carequality.
Due to the inherent promise of better patient care, many clinics are eager to adopt this new software bridge. Currently, HealthCo is rolling out Healthcare Connections in a handful of beta sites. The second such clinic in the nation to adopt the technology is Swedish Urology in Seattle, WA. Our installation of Healthcare Connections now enables the clinic to seamlessly transfer data between their Centricity EMR and the Swedish Hospital system, which uses EPIC.
Today, patients are ultimately responsible for the transfer of any medical records from a hospital admission to their primary care physicians and specialists or by cumbersome faxing. By adding Healthcare Connections to Centricity, clinics will be able to seamlessly receive electronic transfer of patient records. Healthcare Connections takes an imperfect and labor-heavy process and turns it into a push-button process that takes seconds.
This critical new functionality is an outcome of GE Healthcare’s membership in The Sequoia Project’s Carequality initiative, and focus on improving patient care and outcomes through Project Northstar. Carequality provides a way forward by utilizing a nationwide, consensus-built common interoperability framework.
In the bold new Carequality world, patient’s charts are seamlessly integrated between systems. This is the continuity of care that physicians and patients have longed for, but haven’t had access to until now. It’s another big step toward true interoperability and value-based care. We are excited to bring Healthcare Connections to our beta testers like Swedish Urology, and to all of our clients in 2018.
The promise of interoperability—which is a big word for seamless data transfer across private networks—has largely been a promise unfulfilled. This is bad for business and bad for public health.
Imagine you have just been admitted to the ER for an injury. You are not a previous patient of the hospital, and your doctor is affiliated with a different hospital system across town. One hospital uses EPIC for their EMR, the other Cerner. Today, there is no chance your current medical information (including your allergies to medicine and recent medical history) will be available to the ER physician that is treating you. This scenario is worse than just bad form; it’s frightening and unnecessary.
To help combat this persistent and dangerous problem, GE Healthcare has agreed to participate in The Sequoia Project’s Carequality Interoperability Framework. The Sequoia Project is an independent advocate for a nation-wide health information exchange. “Carequality” for short, is the group’s new public-private partnership committed to a common set of standards and specifications. The ultimate goal is a seamless transition of data across competing products and services, enabling patients to receive the highest level of care.
Right now, patient data only moves freely inside the confines of the particular technology or EMR platform. There is no national healthcare exchange. Even worse, some of the largest hospital EMR providers have adopted a defensive posture and closed off their systems, making it nearly impossible for data to be shared from clinic to hospital, hospital to clinic, or hospital to hospital.
Despite the historic shortcomings, there is plenty of reason to believe that true interoperability is within our grasp. The member organization participating in the Carequality initiative are actively building common rules, technical specifications, and participant directories to drive this new framework forward. As the work continues, GE Healthcare is pleased to be in a position to help make interoperability a reality. At HealthCo, we’re proud to be working closely with a true leader in modern healthcare IT. Putting “people before profit” is in our view not idealistic, rather, it’s the precursor to “people and profit.”