March 25, 2012

Whose Data Is It Anyhow?

Filed under: Uncategorized — HankMayers @ 9:45 pm

As most of my followers know, I am a strong proponent of Application Service Providers (ASPs) as the best approach for securing an EHR, especially for the smaller sized physician practices.

While I continue to believe that the ASP is the option that most fully off-loads the technology burden inherent in using an EHR, I am hearing more and more frequently that it can be impossible to retrieve your patient records when it comes to “divorce time” with your ASP provider. Given that 500+ certified EHR vendors cannot survive the inevitable vendor shake-out in the EHR market, this lack of data portability is poised to become a very large problem a few years out.

It is my view that the federal EHR program agencies (the CMS, the ONC, and the Policy Committee) ) are in the best position to raise this issue and provide the necessary motivation for the vendors to be able to provide their clients with their patient records. And what I mean here is producing an electronic file that (1) includes the entire patient history that was recorded on their product for all practitioner patients, and (2) one that is structured so it can be used as a transaction driver on another vendor EHR product to build those past patient records.

Most assuredly, the technological considerations here are not minor. But they are most definitely not impossible. If the feds are going to penalize Medicare providers for not being EHR Meaningful Users, then they really are obligated to make the vendors deal with this important consideration.

Comments anyone?

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