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For many healthcare providers, payers, and other industry stakeholders, interoperability remains a noble but elusive goal.
But Scott Weingarten, MD, senior vice president and chief clinical transformation officer at Cedars-Sinai, tells Healthcare IT News that electronic health records (EHRs) are making impressive gains in their ability to share data.
“There have been great strides made with these companies in terms of improving interoperability, or improving communication between different EHRs,” Weingarten says.
This progress, he says, is critical to healthcare’s move away from a fee-for-service payment model toward value-based care. Being better able to collect and share patient data not only improves care coordination, it reduces the risks of unnecessary, expensive, and even counter-productive treatments or tests because clinicians at the point of care have a full picture of the patient’s medical history, existing conditions, and current prescriptions.
Further, data can be collected over time and shared by multiple providers, which allows them to see how their clinical courses of action stack up against industry-wide practices.
“Data is available to see how many doctors have prescribed low-value tests or treatments in comparison to your peers,” Weingarten says. “When you give providers comparative information … they often respond by reducing their prescribing of low-value care.”
Striving toward value-based care not only serves patients well, it’s a matter of survival, according to Weingarten.
“Providers who deliver the best care at the lowest cost and provide the best patient experience will grow and thrive, and those provider organizations that do not provide high-value care are going to struggle,” he says.