The Exchange is a weekly blog written by the GLHC staff. As the name suggests, The Exchange is a virtual space for information sharing, engagement, and learning around issues that impact all aspects of healthcare and technology.
Relax Chicken Little,
The Interoperability Sky is NOT Falling!
There is arguably no topic in health information technology that generates more industry media coverage and online chatter than interoperability.
There is no doubt that a nationally connected system for securely and seamlessly sharing electronic health data is an inevitable necessity. But making progress toward this goal has proven to be … challenging. But is the urgency and attention really warranted? Or has the hype blown practical consideration of the topic completely out of proportion? How do average providers and their patients feel about their access to the information necessary to support their health? What role does (or should) provider/patient perception play how we rank priorities and their urgency?
Particular subjects have a way of capturing our collective consciousness. That can certainly be said for those who spend a lot of time and effort wrestling with interoperability and all its challenges. What may begin as just another development project, can easily be blown out of proportion. Then, before you know it, savvy HIT consultants and developers have identified the opportunity and then emphasize the urgency to their clients and prospects in hopes of landing some new business. Then the various industry media pick up the narrative and develop several competing story lines, each trying to scoop the other. Finally, the cycle comes full circle, social media reinforces the narrative, until it has taken hold across the industry.
When you’re sitting in the eye of this storm, It’s easy to lose perspective on how much impact an issue may (or may not) have on the rest of the world. It’s like the story of Chicken Little. A falling acorn lands on our collective head, and before we know it, the sky is falling! This is in my view what has occurred with the “problem” of Interoperability.