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Health IT experts share firsthand data blocking experiences

There are many patient stories out there about data blocking in healthcare. Now, three health IT experts share their run-ins with data blocking while on the job.

Data blocking is a real issue. Even the vice president of the United States has a data blocking story and there are many more patient stories that illustrate how interoperability is lacking in healthcare and that data blocking occurs.

The patient side is well known, but now three health IT experts share their firsthand experiences with data blocking at the Health IT Summit in Boston. Their experiences range from EHR vendors stating outright that they will not share data so they can become an informatics company down the road to health information exchanges siloing data to the health data that exist on nearly everyone's mobile device but is very difficult to extract.

Here are their stories.

Laura Adams

Laura AdamsLaura Adams

President and CEO of Rhode Island Quality Institute

I thought payment models were going to drive the focus to the North Star, to the patient, and when I realized that people were willing to withhold data at the risk of putting their patients' lives on the line … I thought, I wonder how long it's going to be before a patient finds out their data was withheld deliberately … or withheld by virtue of a vendor doing something like that, and then their life or their loved one's life was put at risk. So yeah, I think there's some deliberate stuff going on.

Robert Havasy

Robert HavasyRobert Havasy

Executive director of Continua Health Alliance and vice president of Personal Health Connected Health Alliance

Among IT types and my friends, we used to call this the roach motel data model for every single system that came to us, right? Data checks in and it never checks out again, because every company believes that 10 years from now they're going to be the world's greatest analytics company and they're going to have some proprietary diagnostics system that's going to revolutionize the world. And even in the consumer world … you see it. … So, it's happening at all levels.

Laura Young

Laura YoungLaura Young

Executive director of Behavioral Health Information Network of Arizona

I think health information exchanges are very guilty of this, too. … Some of that goes back to education. They're not really going out to the providers and saying, 'Here's how you use this tool.' But in some cases they're not very motivated to do that, either. They're getting paid however they're getting paid, through subscriptions or whatever, and they're happy and they've got a big giant database that they can do some analytics and some other things on, but if their real goal is true health information exchange, that's not always happening with health information exchanges and I think that's really unfortunate.

Next Steps

Data blocking is purely political, says CIO

Information blocking ban included with Medicare reimbursements

ONC steps up its campaign against information blocking

This was last published in July 2016

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