When it comes to interoperability of healthcare information technology systems, much of the focus has been on data standards and health information exchanges to promote the external swapping of information between one provider armed with an electronic health-record system and another.
But the lack of interoperability within systems is also a problem when it comes to maximizing the potential of EHRs to access the latest medical information and deliver it in a usable format for clinicians, according to new report from KLAS Enterprises, the Orem, Utah,-based health IT market research firm.
In a just-released report, KLAS looked at three classes of third-party developed products and tools designed for use with the clinical decision-support functions of EHRs, (which KLAS refers to in its report as electronic medical-records systems, or EMRs.) The three classes of outside-developed products studied are clinical order sets, care plans and drug databases. The supposed added value supplied by vendors of these products is that the vendors keep the products current with the forever changing and expanding bodies of knowledge in each of the three categories, freeing providers from having to do that work themselves.
The good news for vendors of these products is, according to KLAS, one-third to almost half of providers using one of them—depending on category—had previously tried the do-it-yourself approach and gave up.
The bad news is, to make the products most useful, they need to be fully integrated into a clinician's workflow, and to do that, they also need to be fully integrated into the EHRs that clinicians use—and that doesn't always happen, according to KLAS.