The (Profitable) Potential For Open Health-Care Data

Susan Devore | The Experts | September 16, 2014

Despite the $20 billion taxpayer investment in health information technology, it still has not reached its full potential. Most offerings are not easy to use or properly integrated into the daily workflow of clinicians. In addition, few of these systems are able to communicate with other health IT assets in a hospital.

These disconnections have consequences. For one, we often require manual interventions or duplication of data entry into multiple systems, adding time requirements and potentially introducing human error. For another, care providers are paying thousands of dollars to custom code bridges between disparate systems, all at a time when budgets are tightly constrained. We’re being asked to spend too much to free data that’s locked behind proprietary walls. This is not a model that’s worked in any other industry, and it won’t work for much longer in health IT, either.

Buyers of health IT are increasingly calling for an ability to exchange data using open application programming interfaces. These interfaces would allow developers to access data residing in these health IT systems to create applications that protect patient privacy, but also sync different data sets across platforms to create new tools that improve safety, care quality and efficiency...