Why practices are struggling to exchange records

Administrators lack needed financial and technical expertise, says Doug Brown.

Medical record administrators are continuing to have difficulties exchanging patient records with other providers.

Data exchange is particularly difficult when receiving providers are not on the same electronic health record as the sender, according to results of a survey conducted in January by Black Book Research, which found that more than 40 percent of responding administrators admitted to record exchange challenges.

Those mixed results come even though vendors of EHRs are reconfiguring systems to better enable data exchange. The survey also measured how well respondents’ electronic health records vendors are optimizing EHRs, including the use of the emerging FHIR interoperability standard, to better support HIE.

Also See: Pop health IT offerings don’t meet all providers’ needs

“As inpatient organizations implement optimized EHR software that uses FHIR to advance interoperability and HIE, the entire provider network gains the data exchanging functionality to better serve patients,” says Doug Brown, managing partner at Black Book. “Physician groups continue to lack the financial and technical expertise to adopt complex EHRs which are compulsory to attain higher reimbursements by public and private payers.”

Other survey findings include:
  • 70 percent of responding hospitals don’t use patient information outside of their own EHR because data from external providers is not made available in the EHR workflow.
  • 22 percent of records administrators say transferred patient information is not presented in a usable format.
  • 21 percent of hospital-based physicians say the data they view cannot be trusted for accuracy when sent between disparate information systems.

In all, more than 80 percent of independent physicians in the survey are not confident of having the technology and skills to handle the financial risk of quality payment programs.

Black Book also asked how providers feel about their EHR vendor. Those ranked highest are: Evident CPSI for hospitals with fewer than 100 beds; Cerner for community hospitals with 101-250 beds; Allscripts for facilities with more than 250 beds; and Cerner for hospital chains and integrated delivery systems.

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