Cures Act May be the Data Cure

The 21st Century Cures Act was officially signed on Tuesday, December 13th. It is another significant medical research appropriation bill it is optimistically another giant step toward reduced regulation and faster development and delivery of new medicine and medical devices. As exciting as that is, this bill also directs HHS and the National Director for Health Information Technology to make EHR’s interoperable.

For those working to improve health care by speeding up the delivery of critical decision making information, this is an affirmation of Extract's vision. While the vision is similar, how the federal government solves problems is very different than businesses like Extract solve problems. Nevertheless, we all know that having access to the right information at the right time will reduce a whole host of problems including misdiagnosis, medication conflicts, redundant testing and treatment errors.

There is incredible work to be accomplished to attain the goals of the Cures Act.  After all, there has been talk of EMR interoperability for years. It hasn’t happened for many reasons but a big reason is the competitive boundary between the EMR vendors that will need to be negotiated. Vendors need to see the benefit to their business. There are compliance and philosophical issues to be resolved such as concerns about bringing outside data with questionable accuracy, completeness, measurement, security, etc., into the destination EMR. Five interoperability standards have been set out in the act. They are:

  1. Vocabulary and terminology
  2. Content and structure
  3. Transport of information
  4. Security
  5. Service standards

My mind spins when I try to imagine the discussions required to set these standards. It won’t be easy.  Extract knows firsthand how important it is to make sure incoming data matches each of our customer’s vocabulary, structure, specific HL7 specs as well as security.  I can already hear and see the push-back and the time delay for each organization that is required to make such changes to standards they have employed in their individual organizations for years.  This is going to take real work and dedication to deliver the vision outlined in the Cures Act.

What can you do in the meantime?  Every day, the vast majority of healthcare organizations receive unstructured information from outside health systems. Many simply scan and file the images. Others perform various levels of manual data entry into the EMR.  A growing number of organizations are using Extract’s technology which allows the efficient transfer and filing of discrete information from source documents to the order or encounter in the EMR. Clinical decision makers in these organizations have all the critical information they need, where they need it and when then need it. For more information on reducing the data gap in the EMR, read How to Reduce the Data Delay from 5 Days… to 1 Hour.

Any healthcare organization that values information when physicians need it and where they need it can take a step forward today. Extract’s solution exists right now and doesn’t rely on an unknown timetable for industry-wide standards, and the certain rocky start and stop to interoperable EMRs.

You can solve the problem today and let the federal standards catch up to your organization years down the road. 

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Monday, January 30th at Noon CST

Sit back and relax as we take you through the Extract Systems™ Platform and the many features and capabilities Extract offers. This is the perfect opportunity to ask any questions you may have and explore the numerous benefits the Extract Systems™ Platform can offer your organization.

About the Author: David Rasmussen

David Rasmussen is the President of Extract. With 30 years’ experience leading software companies, David is driven by the challenge to consistently find groundbreaking ways to solve customer problems. David finds it rewarding to hit the customer’s target and create a great team, build a solid infrastructure, and emerge with a strong value proposition.