As of this date 91% of British Columbia’s (BC) full service family practice medical clinics (FPMC) have adopted Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Practice Management (PM) software. As EMR adoption initiatives and incentives are fading away, new meaningful use initiatives are currently being executed.
Interoperability is only one of the many world wide meaningful use criteria for EMR systems. The ability to securely pass critical patient data from EMR to EMR is an important strategy for BC’s Ministry of Health (BC MOH) 10 year eHealth project. Yet interoperability is a distant dream for many FPMC’s in BC.
It seems that many proprietary EMR vendors have avoided adopting and developing interoperability specifications as a customer retention strategy and the BCMOH eHealth interoperability strategy cannot be realized without unified specifications.
A group of physicians in New Brunswick took control of the situation by collaborating on a private initiative to prioritize EMR interoperability in their own province.
Several government and open source interoperability projects in the United States of America (USA) are working hard on standards that will bridge interoperability indifference between EMR’s. The Health Information Exchange (HIE) standard is now becoming the prevailing ubiquitous solution for EMR interoperability throughout the USA. Open Health Tools has encouraged collaborative efforts to build and deliver Open Source tools which implement an HIE solution.
In Canada McMaster University’s Oscar Open Source EMR project is a shining example of how collaborative efforts can improve EMR technology by pressing forward to meet demand.
Is there a group of physicians in BC who feel inspired by the collaborative efforts in New Brunswick? Is it possible that the Oscar EMR community will press ahead to solve the demands of EMR interoperability?