Posted in HIX

EHR interoperability: A global conundrum

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
EHR interoperability: A global conundrum

Maybe it’s no wonder that interoperability appears to be an elusive goal in healthcare, since the vast majority of healthcare professionals around the world struggle to even define interoperability.
A new global survey by Black Book Research shows that 90 percent of the nearly 12,000 responding healthcare professionals across 23 countries say they are unsure about what constitutes a highly interoperable electronic health record (EHR) system.
“There is an enduring confusion on the definition of a highly interoperable EHR system outside the United States,” Black Book said. “Seventy-two percent stated in 2017 that their regional preferable strategy for electronic health records is to link disparate systems through messaging, APIs, web services and clinical portals. Only seven percent of all international EHR survey respondents described their regional HIT system as having ‘meaningfully connectivity’ with other providers.”
The seven-month poll, which closed in January, surveyed 11,838 doctors, clinical leaders, healthcare administrators, and technology managers. 
Fortunately, many of these non-U.S. provider organizations are moving toward interoperability. Poll results reflect a pending shift away from siloed EHR systems in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia, where nearly 57 percent of respondents foresee a move to comprehensive healthcare IT systems with data exchange and care coordination capabilities.
Countries with the highest potential for progressing EHR interoperability and expanded health IT functionalities beyond their local regions are (in order) New Zealand, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong, Norway, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Finland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and France.
"A number of countries have launched national initiatives to develop ICT-based health solutions including EHR systems and have progressed well, despite several hurdles," Black Book managing partner Doug Brown said in a statement. "As the obstacles are clearing with technological and non-technological interventions, approved standards and regulatory frameworks, funding and health-tech guidelines, the growth opportunities for U.S.-based global EHR vendors magnify as well."