Last week IT Business Edge's Lora Bentley wrote about how a lack of interoperability remains a big challenge for electronic medical records. Vendors with proprietary technologies and vested interests in keeping them that way are part of the problem, as Lora mentioned.
They aren't the only factors, however. An Information Managment article points out that hospitals' reliance on document management systems also creates hurdles. While scanning documents into such systems reduces storage and labor costs, it results in a dearth of unstructured data that makes it tough to search and share documents.
The article quotes a couple of experts who say hospitals and medical practices need to begin now to reduce their dependence on document management systems. Said Janie Tremlett, senior vice president, strategic and clinical services for consulting company Concordant:
We recommend that practices bite the bullet and develop an incremental strategy to enter patient data into the EHR and rely less on document management. They will see the benefits of doing that.