During a recent routine medical appointment, my ear, nose & throat (ENT) specialist asked me about a lump on my thyroid—years ago, I had it biopsied in a hospital and it was quite the ordeal. With my consent, my specialist contacted my endocrinologist who shared my medical history and looped in my primary care physician. Armed with that information, my ENT specialist performed the biopsy that same day in his office. I felt an enormous sense of relief. I was able to get the procedure done right away and with far less stress than the last time. I felt taken care of by all my providers, and they each received my results electronically (all is fine, by the way!).
What is worth noting about my experience that day is these three physicians are all at different practices and have no contractual relationship with each other. However, they shared information to help me. I felt like I was in control of my health care journey. The ability to communicate with each other—and share real-time information—saved me an extra doctor visit, allowed my doctors to agree on an efficient course of action, and likely reduced costs to my health plan. This was such a positive experience that I have an even stronger sense of loyalty to my doctors because they did what was truly best for me.
Why I am telling this story? I think it helps put into context some of the thinking (as I see it) set forth by the administration’s proposed rules on interoperability and information blocking—as well as the executive order on pricing transparency that the president issued last week.1