Congress keeps the interoperability pressure on Congress

Congress keeps the interoperability pressure on Congress

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has paid out nearly $30 billion in meaningful use incentives for hospitals and physicians to adopt EHRs. But some members of Congress, the body that approved those funds, are about as frustrated with EHRs as doctors and nurses.
"The evidence suggests these goals haven't been reached," said Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, in a long EHR hearing followed by Erin McCann, Healthcare IT News managing editor.
Robert Wergin, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said that family physicians are having a difficult time with the Stage 2 meaningful use requirements. The "time, expense and effort it takes makes it not worth while," said Wergin. Indeed, some 55 percent of physicians surveyed plan on skipping Stage 2 all together.   
“The issue of interoperability between electronic health records represents one of the most complex challenges facing the healthcare community," said Wergin. The government "must step up efforts to require interoperability."
A central problem, as McCann wrote, is that “Vendors have no incentive to share data and create more interoperable systems. There's the question of data ownership here. There's the question of competition. And there's the question of standards, or lack thereof.”
"The vendors are siloed," as Wergin said. "And you're held somewhat hostage by the vendor you have."