Computerworld - I'm in Tokyo lecturing about the need to implement electronic medical records to provide safe, efficient and coordinated medical care. Interestingly, I can walk into any Japanese post office, insert my ATM card (issued by a rural New England bank) into any cash machine and retrieve as many yen as I need. This is made possible by the worldwide adoption of electronic standards for banking and cash transfers.
However, in my hometown of Boston, my medical records can't be electronically exchanged between two of the world's best teaching hospitals, even though they're across the street from each other. This is because there hasn't been consistent adoption of standards for the storage and exchange of medical information in the U.S. But there's hope.
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has established the American Health Information Community, a group of 17 government, business and nonprofit leaders charged with fostering adoption of interoperable electronic records throughout the country. Further, the HHS-based Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has funded a $17.5 million effort to accelerate electronic medical record interoperability. This effort comprises three parts.
The first is to harmonize all the electronic standards for health care in the U.S. There are over 100 U.S. organizations creating standards. These standards are at times redundant, competitive and noninteroperable. To achieve the kind of universal functionality our ATM cards provide worldwide, U.S. parties must agree on a common set of health care data standards implemented consistently by hospitals, clinician offices and nursing homes.
The second step is to standardize privacy and security policies across all 50 states. In Massachusetts, doctors can't retrieve a complete electronic medical list from an insurance company, even with patient consent, if a medication related to mental health, substance abuse or HIV treatment is present. In Ohio, doctors must use a cryptographic electronic signature to prescribe medications electronically. In California, only paper forms are considered a valid patient consent. The laws that created many of these regulations were appropriate 30 years ago, when electronic systems lacked the sophistication available today, but now they're an impediment to delivering safe, patient-focused care.
The third step is to ensure that electronic medical records provide the basic functions needed for a doctor to record and transmit patient medical information. The average patient over 80 has 10 medications and three clinicians. Rarely is there any coordination of care among caregivers. Objective criteria to certify that an electronic records system meets the basic requirements for data capture and exchange are essential.
These steps are a great start. However, there's a
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
Red Hat Enterprise Linux - The Original Cloud Operating System
Linux adoption is growing against a number of measures, such as the
number of supercomputers that run Linux and the size of the contributing...
- OpenStack Hype vs. Reality: CIO Quick Pulse Open-source architecture can enable IT departments to build infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds running on standard hardware.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- The CIO's Guide to Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) This guide will help those making an EMM platform decision make the best choice for their organization.
- Live Webcast Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- Increasing the Value of Your Reports and Dashboards Learn how incorporating other analytical capabilities such as predictive modeling and visualization can increase the value of your reports and dashboards by providing... All Management White Papers | Webcasts