July 3, 2012
WPC CEO Andrew Fitzpatrick comments on the lack of standardization in data sharing in the healthcare industry in NHIN Watch, a publication of Healthcare IT News.
In healthcare, the government mandates data structure for certain types of electronic exchange. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a mentality persists that standardizing and sharing data entails a difficult process to implement. People are often misguided and intimidated by the perceived complexities of structured data along with the technical obstacles of securely exchanging it with other healthcare entities.
Moreover, prior to more recent legislation, there has been little apparent economic incentive to focus on widespread interoperability unless these entities, largely represented by providers and insurers, agree to collaborate and define a clear strategy to achieve productive data exchange. With the introduction of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN), followed by the Direct Project and CONNECT software, there is hope that important technical obstacles to expanding the secure exchange of health information have been overcome, making it available to all that can benefit by its use.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has successfully grown and perpetuated standardization across other industries outside of healthcare. Those industries realize structured data exchange makes sense in providing value to their core business and in gaining a competitive edge, though the source of competition is not based on owning the data. It can make good clinical and financial sense for healthcare, too.
Click here to read the full commentary.