As of June 2014, 75% of eligible professionals and 92% of eligible hospitals had received subsidies from the federal government to kick-start their adoption of electronic records, the report noted. So, EHR adoption is booming, the report noted. But moving beyond that to data-sharing appears problematic.
“Electronic health information is not yet sufficiently standardized to allow seamless interoperability, as it is still inconsistently expressed through technical and medical vocabulary, structure, and format, thereby limiting the potential uses of the information to improve health and care,” the report (PDF) said.
In 2013, 14% of office-based physicians shared patient information with providers outside their institutional walls; 39% shared information with any physician, even those inside the same institution. And 42% of hospitals electronically shared clinical-care summaries outside their systems, up 68% since 2008. In addition, 55% of hospitals shared radiology reports outside of their systems, and 57% laboratory reports.
Information-sharing is particularly problematic when attempting to share with post-acute-care and behavioral health providers, and long-term-care institutions. Those providers were not included in the federal EHR subsidy program and therefore have lower rates of adoption, the report noted.
The report stresses increased use of standards and “rules of the road” to aid interoperability. The report states the second stage of the meaningful-use program will help spur greater information-sharing, and believes HHS, CMS and ONC programs to aid innovation and health information exchanges will bear fruit. The report also argues that the earlier release of the ONC's 10-year roadmap to interoperability will attract helpful comments on how to boost interoperability.
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