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The open secret of health information technology – the emperor has no clothes

October 1, 2019

You can tell a lot about a person by asking them what their favorite fairy tale was when they were a child. Was it The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood, or maybe Sleeping Beauty?  For me it was The Emperor’s New Clothes. I love the part at the end when a child cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all.” Sometimes we don’t need the eyes of a child to tell us what is obvious. It is the elephant in the room that everyone sees but doesn’t mention. It is the Open Secret that everyone knows but strives to avoid.

CEHRT and Interoperability

Let me get right to the point. Everybody claims they support interoperability in health care data. The bandwagon is loaded with vendors, patient advocates, policy wonks, and government employees. You will not find anyone opposed to the benefits of data exchange. Over 35 billion dollars has been paid out to Eligible Providers and Eligible Professionals since 2011 through the CMS EHR Incentive Programs. Most of that money ended up in the pockets of large EHR vendors. The goal was to promote the meaningful use of certified electronic health records technology. CMS stated: “it is hoped that the meaningful use compliance will result in: better clinical outcomes; improved population health outcomes; increased transparency and efficiency; empowered individuals; and, more robust research data on health systems”.

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