Interoperability is Coming — at Last

Managed Healthcare Executive

Jared Kaltwasser

Perhaps no industry better straddles the dichotomy between cutting-edge technology and inefficient obsolete devices than the healthcare industry.

In one corner of a hospital, a physician in another room (or another state) can perform precision surgery using state-of-the-art robotics, while just down the hall a nurse receives the patient’s medical records via fax machine and the patient’s spouse uses a pen to fill out paperwork.

Those throwbacks exist for many reasons, but perhaps the most important is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which requires providers and health plans to protect a patient’s health data. Say what you will about fax machines, but they are sturdily HIPAA-compliant.

But if government regulation to protect patient privacy is the root cause of the vestigial methods for transferring healthcare data, then new regulations might pull them into the 21st century.

New regs, new era

The agents of change are...

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