A Patchwork Quilt of Unique EMR Software

We keep hearing about the Big National Data Bank for Healthcare Information. The thought is that you need a big data bank so everyone’s health information is available anywhere/anytime. This type of personal health information repository has many problems. First it is complex and expensive to set up and maintain. Second there are very significant and well-founded privacy concerns. And finally, this large, complex electronic structure may not be needed … it might even be counterproductive!

Is there another way to transport patient health data from one platform to another (so it can go from one EMR to another), so that healthcare providers, anywhere/anytime can provide fully informed care for individual patients which would be less expensive and higher in quality?

I think the answer is YES!

There are standard data exchange platforms currently being used which can help us all share “meaningful” personal health information. They are called the Continuity of Care Record (CCR), CCD and HL7. For more information on these platforms, I suggest you read Brian Klepper’s blog post. This blog gave me great insight into this connectivity issue.

In addition to obviating the need for a big data bank, these data exchange platforms make it possible for small, innovative EMR companies to compete and survive in the “EMR Jungle”. By allowing for diversity and encouraging innovation, we will end up with better EMR software. In addition, physicians will be able to pick EMRs that suit their practice style and can make them more efficient, productive and better doctors. I think we need a patchwork quilt of unique EMRs that are all well connected rather than a few big standard lemming EMRs that are totally connected by “big brother” or “big business”.

What are your thoughts on this topic?