It’s a fact that the U.S. spends more on health IT than many other countries. Interestingly, attitudes about interoperability here are still are mixed. A recent survey on this topic revealed that most providers (75%) think integrated systems are valuable. This was sadly lower as compare to other countries where an average of 88% providers though that integrated systems were important.

Now the remaining 25% of providers may think that interoperable systems are not important, but experts believe that medical practices can end up overpaying significantly for new healthcare technologies if they don’t have integrated systems such as EHR installed.

For example, new hospital beds feature a number of sensors to monitor patient conditions. These beds alert the staff about risks of patients getting bedsores and similar other potential complications. However, the data from those sensors was rendered unusable at one of Johns Hopkins’ hospitals as the system could not read it. Therefore it is important to invest in a good EHR system if you are going for better hospital equipment. After all what’s the use of all those funds when you can’t even offer a good Health It infrastructure to your staff?

Electronic health record systems monitor patient health and keep a detailed record of their medical history. The also offer facilitating tools to the providers so they could spend less time on the EHR and more time with the patients. Good EHR’s are able to connect with pharmacies, labs and other vendor’s EHR and thus doctors can transmit patient medical information to other healthcare institutes if the patient wishes to consult them. These software also come with billing and administrative solutions and also help practices in scheduling appointments and sending appointment reminders.

In the Harvard Business Review, Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety Director M.D., Ph.D. Peter Pronovost, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab National Health Mission Area Executive Sezin Palmer and National Health Mission Chief Engineer Ph.D. Alan Ravitz wrote “To ensure that technologies and data can be used effectively in patient care, providers should invest in systems management. Healthcare is woefully under engineered. Using systems engineering, we can integrate technologies and build hospitals and clinics that ensure consistently safe, high-quality and efficient care.”

In EHRs, the feature of interoperability can easily be customized to fit provider needs. Also the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is further offering guidelines to measure progress. We believe that investment from both the private and public sectors will play a major role in ensuring that health IT functions effectively across the country, and it is safe for patients.