These days, it doesn’t take a lot of data interoperability to make news. The following, while a perfectly fine effort, concerns just one practice and one hospital, something which reminds us forcefully of how far we have to go. That being said, the details are worth a look.
Lancaster General Health’s Women & Babies Hospital, which runs an Epic EMR, has connected the Epic system with the Greenway EMR at obstetrics and gynecology practice May-Grant Associates. The two entities can now exchange continuity of care documents and securely share patient data, according to an article in Healthcare IT News.
According to Greenway, which issued a press release touting the development milestone, the architecture of its PrimeSUITE platform simplifies data exchange between disparate EMR systems, using a bidirectional, hub-based exchange built to support industry standards. To connect the medical practice with the hospital, Epic needed to create a connection to the Greenway EMR which would enable data flow between the two entities.
The new interoperability between systems is expected to help coordinate care for more than 2,500 patients with the ob/gyn practice whose babies are delivered at the women’s hospital, Healthcare IT News reports.
Moreover, May-Grant expects shared data access to deliver financial benefits. According to the release, since the systems were connected May-Grant has seen improved practice management and revenue cycle management processes, especially when hospital patients are assigned to the practice for follow-up care.
“Now we’re able to get all of the details we need to process claims on behalf of those new patients,” said Mona S. Engle, RN, May·Grant practice administrator. “Since we can query the hospital for the information we need to submit with a claim, searching for that information no longer slows us down.”
As Healthcare IT News points out, Greenway is part of the new CommonWell interoperability alliance announced at HIMSS13 a few months ago, but Epic is not. So far, CommonWell members haven’t come out with any specific interoperability proposals of their own, so that probably didn’t matter this time around.
But it’s worth wondering whether CommonWell membership will make a difference going forward — and whether Epic’s non-participation will undercut hospitals’ ability to pull off projects like these. So far, the benefits of the Alliance seem distant and vague at best.