Most medical devices and EHR systems not on speaking terms … yet

As there has been no financial benefit up until now to EHR system and medical device companies for making their software interoperable, they have, by and large, not done so.  On the other hand, full interoperability could benefit the U.S. health care system to the tune of as much as $30 billion a year in savings according to recent estimates.

So why are health care providers not using their tremendous purchasing power to insist on interoperability?  Apparently the conventional process by which hospitals acquire new software and equipment – usually via big contracts only once every ten years or so — significantly undermines their ability to influence manufacturer behavior – and specifically product design decisions — on an ongoing basis.

Despite these and other barriers to interoperability, pressure to require that EHR systems and medical devices are interoperable is building in various quarters — from health care providers’ groups, to the FDA via new voluntary standards, to a group of medical device makers who made a public commitment to interoperability this past year.

Via Modern Healthcare:

The typical hospital bed in an intensive-care unit is surrounded by as many as a dozen medical devices that monitor the patient, track blood pressure and heart rate, dispense medications and perform other vital functions.

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