Of late, two major IT panels have come forward to offer EHR interoperability solutions to improve the overall facilities and care provided to the patients. These health information technology advisory panels have recommended a new approach that can be used while employing EHR software in the systems. This will help in enabling seamless communication across the providers, irrespective of the EHR vendors they choose to work with.
An opinion has been put forward that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services must jointly take a new approach to improve the EHR interoperability. According to their report, the judicious use of EHR software along with the advanced technology will help in the effective utilization of public application programming interfaces. This, in turn, will help the web based EHR software to communicate easily and exchange data between the vendors.
With this approach, the web based EHR software systems will be made available to everyone instead of being proprietary to a single vendor. This has been allowed to ensure that the health care facilities and care provided to the patients in hospitals get improved. The committee has also asked for the implementation of the use of Stage 3 Meaningful Use criteria of the federal electronic health-record incentive payment program. This is to make sure that the application programming interfaces are adopted and used well for the improvement in healthcare systems.
As stated by Micky Tripathi, co-chair of the committee that put forward the recommendation, “We believe a narrow focus on interoperability is the way to go here. ONC and CMS should realign the meaningful-use program to shift focus to expanding interoperability and initiating the adoption of public APIs. This is our most important recommendation.”
The APIs or application programming interfaces have already created quite a buzz in the healthcare IT sector as a large number of developers and EHR system developers are using this information to include links to their electronic health records. This includes the Web-connected services such as home health monitoring and mobile health applications.
However, the IT panels have suggested that APIs can easily pick out single data elements in the healthcare data of patients. Hence, these programming interfaces could also be used to search, index and organize the patient data after employing web based EHR software.
Using APIs accordingly with the healthcare systems will definitely result in the improvement of care coordination, population health management and research to provide better facilities to the patients.