Among the many goals of the Meaningful Use program and other federal initiatives is a future where the complete medical history of a patient is available across clinical settings, geographical locations and provider networks, through secure and confidential channels of communication. This is one of the main reasons why MU objectives stress the electronic sharing of health data.
Although stage II requires providers and hospitals to share data with external organizations, not all EHRs are capable of doing so. Some providers are able to exchange data with HIEs but not with diagnostics or radiology labs. Similarly even if practices have patient portals, not all of them provide clients with the ability to securely download or share their data with third parties.
One of the barriers to more widespread exchange of data is the small pool of providers who are able to transmit medical information with third-party systems. Even though the number of providers and hospitals using EHRs has significantly increased in the last few years, there are many other organizations which are yet to implement systems which can interact with those EHRs. For example, some organizations cannot receive test reports because the pathology lab has not yet implemented an LIS-to-EHR interface.
Another obstacle for providers – especially smaller practices – is the high cost of upgrading or purchasing entirely new EHR systems that are capable of exchanging information with HIEs and external parties. Very few organizations have the ability to request and receive patient related health information from outside their network, even though they can easily communicate with providers using the same EHR.
The ability to securely transmit health data across networks and clinical settings is increasingly important. If a patient is treated at the emergency room, it is often necessary to notify the primary care doctor but a lack of interoperable systems means that many hospitals are unable to do so. Similarly, emergency treatment or prescribing medication can become substantially quicker if ED personnel are able to access medical records from the patient’s provider.
In spite of the many obstacles holding back providers and hospitals from seamless sharing of health data and medical histories, the situation is much improved compared to a decade ago. Dovetail dental software is 2014 Meaningful Use certified and hence, capable of transmitting and receiving health information from various external entities. Since the software is cloud-based, upgrades are pushed out automatically to all our clients without the need to pay extra. Beyond Meaningful Use attestation, Dovetail dental software ensures that you can improve quality of care in the long-term.