According to an article published in Forbes Magazine last week, EHR vendors are now quietly taking steps towards making their systems work with each other.
Two vendors, Epic Systems and Cerner, are working with Greenway Medical Technologies to link their their EHRs together in order to exchange patient information. Yeah. Wow, right?
The reason is because the government is pushing to break down these information exchange barriers. These barriers not only complicate patient health care, but they increase health care costs. However, think of how effective, and less costly, healthcare would be if you could access patient information throughout any EHR.
Previously, Epic and Cerner both maintained closed legacy EHRs. And they both marketed their systems to large hospitals. But teaming up with Greenway, who has turned interoperability into a distinct advantage, means they can both market to smaller firms.
In the meantime, everyone wins because these systems will be able to communicate and share information. And, Walgreen’s just announced they’re about to use the Greenway EHR system in 8,000 of their locations next year.
Interoperability just makes sense. The demand on our healthcare system is going to grow tenfold over the next 20 years. If hospitals and clinics can’t exchange information because systems can’t talk to each other effectively, the people who will ultimately suffer are patients, both in quality of care and cost. Greenway states that their system can be easily customized to connect with other vendors.
Personally, I see this as a huge jump forward with EHR. The only way we’re truly going to improve patient care, and reduce the staggering cost of healthcare, is working with each other. And, this is a great first step!