How many students pulling all-nighters right now in nursing school dream of becoming a device interface when they graduate? What would the course description look like anyway? Maybe something like: Device Interfaces in Modern Nursing — In lieu of automated systems, today’s nurse is expected to spend an inordinate amount of time manually typing and/or writing information down on a sticky notes from medical devices to electronic health records (EHR). While it’s not a course they teach, the task of manually and inefficiently managing data between devices is what nurses are being tasked with in the real world every day, and it comes with high costs.
When hospitals think information technology, the 100-million-dollar gorilla in the room is electronic health records (EHR). While the adoption of these systems is meant to improve healthcare and create cost savings, EHR software systems are sprawling, their implementation complex and their price tags can run in the millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. At the high-end there are places like Boston-based Partners HealthCare, which went live with Epic (the EHR market-share leader) to the tune of $1.2 billion, after a three-year implementation process.
There’s a healthcare revolution going on out there. The digital age came upon us, new technologies arose, and the American healthcare system underwent a seismic transformation. With the HITECH Act, accompanying the 2009 economic stimulus, and the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there’s been a national push for the adoption and advancement of health information technology, most importantly of the interoperability of health information technology. But what exactly does interoperability mean, and why is it so important?