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Providers doubt other providers' willingness to share clinical information

As the healthcare industry labors to achieve better interoperability, some providers are pointing fingers at their peers. Nearly every healthcare provider says it’s willing to share clinical information with other providers, but noticeably fewer providers believe the reverse holds true.

Nearly one-in-five (18%) providers that responded to a KLAS Enterprises LLC. interoperability report said the main competitors of their organizations are unwilling to share clinical information, while only 2% said the same of themselves. More than half (55%) also identified their organizations as “proactive and willing” in the sharing of clinical data, while roughly half that percentage put their competition in the same category. Whether these statistics reflect the truth, it’s clear some providers have trust issues when it comes to sharing clinical information with other healthcare facilities. None of the respondents reported any instance of a vendor deliberately tampering with the flow or information, or otherwise engaging in “information blocking.”

Though examples of information blocking weren’t exposed in KLAS’ research, the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) is convinced some vendors are doing it. In a report given to Congress earlier this year, ONC condemned the practice and later created a complaint webpage where providers can file grievances concerning vendors’ health IT products. Information blocking was on top of the ONC’s list of possible reasons why a provider might resort to using the complaint page.

The KLAS report found athenahealth, Inc. is the vendor that’s easiest for customers to connect with, followed by EHR powerhouses Epic Systems Corp. and Cerner Corp. Both customers and non-customers of Cerner found the vendor easy to connect to.

Non-Epic customers were critical of the vendor and flustered by its use of self-imposed standards, one of the reasons its systems are perceived by some within industry as “closed technology,” according to a section of the report that listed vendors’ strengths and weaknesses. Customers praised athenahealth’s ability to establish both simple and complex connections and its decision to not saddle customers with integration costs.