Infrastructure, interoperability are barriers to global EHR adoption, survey finds
- More than seven in 10 healthcare leaders outside the U.S. said their preferable strategy for EHRs is to link disparate systems via APIs, messaging, web services and clinical portals, according to a new Black Book Research survey. Just 7% said their regional HIT system had “meaningful connectivity” with providers.
- On the plus side, healthcare organizations in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia are moving away from siloed EHRs. More than half (57%) of respondents expect to move to comprehensive IT systems with data exchange and care coordination capabilities similar to those offered by U.S. vendors by 2023.
- Countries in the best position to advance EHR interoperability and expand HIT functionalities beyond their local regions include Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the U.K.
Global spending on EHR technology is expected to exceed $30.2 billion by 2020, according to the 2018 State of the Global EHR Industry report.
“The global healthcare sector is undergoing a wave of transformation, with digitization being the core focus area of service providers," Doug Brown, managing partner of Black Book Research said in a statement. “Healthcare IT products, services and systems are in high demand in nations significantly upgrading their healthcare infrastructures such as Singapore, Israel, Japan and Italy, as well as infrastructure-generating nations of India, China, Brazil, Qatar and Indonesia.”
Countries were scored on IT infrastructure, secure health networking, data storage and exchange capabilities, national health IT policy, available funding and privacy protection.
The survey also ranked EHR vendors using 18 performance indicators. More than eight in 10 respondents reported frustration with local and country-specific vendors that offer limited components such as coding, scheduling and results reporting. Of those, 72% said they plan to replace their EHR with a global vendor by 2023.
The report comes as more U.S. providers are turning to cloud computing for EHRs and other aspects of healthcare. A recent Frost & Sullivan report predicts cloud solutions for providers will increase to more than 50% in 2019, up from 35% three years ago. Fueling the trend is the exponential growth in real-time data and need for greater storage capacity that on-premise data centers can provide. But providers also cite a need for greater organizational agility in the face of changing regulations and higher penetration of EHRs.
Like their foreign counterparts, U.S. healthcare organizations also face challenges with interoperability. An analysis last fall in Health Affairs found that while hospitals have made some progress in interoperability, those efforts focus largely on data transmission and not on usability. Less than a third of hospitals (29.7%) engaged in all four interoperability measures: finding, sending, receiving and integrating electronic patient information.
To help nudge things along, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT last month released a draft interoperability framework. The 21st Century Cures Act directed ONC to develop the exchange framework, including a common agreement of exchange principles, to facilitate interoperability.