Should Every Health IT System Support Interoperability?

In response to my post on EMR and HIPAA called “Interoperability versus Usability in Best of Breed or All-in-One HIS Systems” I got the following message:

It’s unfortunate in today’s environment that we still have a “versus” in the equation. There are some systems that fall under “best of breed” and/or “integrated” and do a pretty good job at supporting interoperability. But, there remains some that rely on proprietary data models and archaic interfaces as part of their revenue stream. Hopefully as more and more emphasis is associated with clinic value derived from data exchange/sharing the “dinosaurs” will be eventually phased out 🙂

This comment prompted me to ask the question: Should we get past closed gardens and just start sharing all our data?

The simple answer that I think we all know is the right answer is: Yes, we should get past the closed gardens and start sharing our data.

All of us in our heart of hearts know this is the right thing to do. Sure, we all also know that we need to put in proper controls so that we’re sharing it appropriately, but that can be done. Why then aren’t we doing this if we all know it’s the best thing we can do for healthcare?

My simple response is that there are still financial benefits not to do it. We need someone to lead us to a point where the financial benefits of not exchanging data are so valuable that those who want closed gardens start to suffer.

This will happen. It may take some time, but the clinical value derived from data exchange/sharing will make it so the “dinosaurs” have to hop on board or become extinct.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


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