Hospital Competition Hinders HIE – Some Solutions to the Problem

Posted on July 31, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In response to my post about the Real HIE Problem, Tim Dunnington provided this powerful insight into a major challenge that are faced by HIEs. However, more importantly, Tim provided some suggestions on how to solve the problems.

I work for an HIE system vendor, ICA. One of the challenges we see our HIE’s face is FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) around sharing patient data. The fear arises in sharing data with other participants that are direct competitors. The competition between participants can lead some participants to refuse to share “their” patient data with other participants, creating complex sharing rules based on these relationships, and meaning that the view of a patient’s record will change depending on what facility you happen to be in. This results in the patient’s medical record not being complete. The patient, meanwhile, is not aware of these nuances and is not aware that their record is incomplete due to these competitive issues. I can’t say we have an answer as to how to solve this, but it’s definitely a potentially large roadblock, larger I think that EMR adoption itself.

I would say in response to these issues:
* The EMR determines what data is shared, so you (as a customer of the EMR) should have some control over what exactly is shared and when
* The HIE will not by any means have a “complete dump’ of your database; the EMR sends out a limited amount of data about the patient or the encounter
* The interoperability standards are set up to keep participants from attempting what I call “patient surfing,” keeping the availability of data to those patients for which you have an established relationship. This means that your competition cannot simply download every one of your patient records, as they have no access to a means to query for all your patients.
* Auditing and regulatory measures ensure that attempts to access records for purposes other than direct patient care are caught and properly sanctioned.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on the challenge of data sharing in a HIE. Do you think that Tim’s suggestions are good?