The economics of EHRs vs sharing patient data

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
The economics of EHRs vs sharing patient data

There still is a question about how useful ICD-10 data will be to U.S. healthcare. Specifically, there are doubts that diagnosis data isn't enough to draw meaningful conclusions about population health.

We will never figure that out unless that data gets shared. And not just ICD-10 data. But all the data in an electronic health record (EHR) is meant to be shared — follow patients as they travel through the U.S. healthcare system.

Why that's not happening is the subject of a Marketplace radio story on sharing patient data by Dan Gorenstein. (It was originally broadcast in June but recently resurfaced.) Technical problems got most of the blame.  But Gorenstein found another issue that is perhaps more problematic. "Vendors make money by charging hospitals and docs to share patient data," he said.

In one example, a New York physician faced a $50,000 price tag for health record systems to talk to each other.

Since EHRs were forced on healthcare providers as a way to reduce costs, this should be considered a complete failure. Legislative remedies are being considered. Meanwhile data is going to waste.