Science & Technology

Obstacles To Expanding Patient Data Sharing Discussed At Madison Forum

People in Wisconsin working on systems for exchanging health information say there’s been significant growth in the interconnectivity of electronic records in the U.S., although obstacles remain.

Eric Helsher, vice president of Epic Systems in Dane County, spoke about transferring patient data between different records systems at a Madison forum Wednesday organized by Wisconsin Health News.

“We have the technology to exchange meaningfully,” he said. “But we need that ‘rules of the road’ that says, ‘Here’s how we will exchange with one another.'”

Standards are just one obstacle. Joe Kachelski, the CEO of the Wisconsin Statewide Health Information Network, said that another is trust.

“There’s always going to be some level of uncomfort potentially with, ‘My data’s going somewhere else. What happens to it?'” he said.

Federal health officials want it to be standard for various electronic records systems be able to share information by 2024. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has said that sharing patient data can provide better care at a lower cost. Plus, through the sharing of data, patients don’t have to have their health information with them — it shows up where they are, even if that’s in an emergency room thousands of miles away from home.