20 Questions for Health IT #2: The Interoperability Blame Game

20HIT2Question number 2 for our “20 Questions for Health IT” project. Please comment in the comments section or on twitter using the #20HIT tag. View the other questions and comments here

Question from Don Fluckinger, News Director at SearchHealthIT.com/TechTarget:

EHR vendors blame healthcare providers for not wanting/pushing interoperability for competitive reasons. Providers blame vendors for not creating interoperable systems. What’s your take on why health data interoperability is so slowly evolving, and what’s it going to take to accelerate it? 

As an industry observer – i.e. working for neither a healthcare provider nor an EHR vendor, just talking with many who do – I think both providers and vendors are behind the slow-as-molasses slough to health data interoperability. Providers, however, see the writing on the wall and have mostly given up their fight, or at least they’re talking that talk. Some vendors we interview are very good about connecting with competitors when those competitors play nice in the sandbox. But many, it seems, aren’t. Add to that the complexity of the capitalistic U.S. health system (vs. say, New Zealand or Denmark, where things are pretty interoperable) and you’ve got your answer.

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