A lack of interoperability among electronic health records systems is hindering the ability of registries—large databases that collect information on groups of patients treated for a particular medical condition—to extract clinical and outcomes data from EHRs for the medical device approval process.

“Despite the dramatic uptake of electronic health information sources, these systems cannot easily transmit data among one another,” testified Allan Coukell, senior director of health programs for The Pew Charitable Trusts, on March 24 before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. ”Instead, registries must develop the ability to extract information from the EHR systems at each facility, or require manual entry from providers.”

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