A recent study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the federal government's program mandating that doctors and hospitals maintain electronic health records for patients actually might be impeding the exchange of data between electronic health records systems.
The study was done at the behest of Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY).
In the study, 18 non-federal government entities were interviewed. These groups specialize in electronic health records and are working to achieve interoperability of such records.
Questions concerned the government's "meaningful use" program, which requires the creation of electronic health-records systems by doctors and hospitals. The majority of respondents said the program "diverted resources and attention from other efforts to enable interoperability" and that criteria used to certify the electronic records were “not sufficient for achieving interoperability.”
The main goal of the initiative was to increase the quality of the electronic exchange of a patients' health information among physicians’ offices, urgent-care centers, hospitals and pharmacies.
The full report can be accessed online at www.gao.gov.
Study: Electronic health-records mandate might be impeding data-sharing goals
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