New research from the University of Notre Dame shows that the sourcing strategy of electronic medical records chosen by hospitals impacts the quality of patient care. EMRs, digital versions of paper charts, are collected by and used for health care providers, and can be shared across healthcare offices. Health systems can choose to use a single software provider or multiple technologies.
During the Inside INdiana Business of Health segment, Notre Dame Associate Professor of Business Analytics Kaitlin Wowak said when hospitals move closer to a single-sourcing strategy, patients receive better evidence-based care.
“When you have different components from different suppliers, even small things like how key medical concepts or data fields are defined can differ, which impacts the exchange of data between these two components,” said Wowak.
Wowak says during the research, the team discovered things like allergies can be defined differently between components from different suppliers, which impacts quality care provided to the patient.
“And even though there’s efforts to help translate these key concepts between components that are sourced from different suppliers, they are often imprecise and error prone, which impacts performance quality,” said Wowak.
Wowak says the exchange of data might not share the same meaning and impact the quality of care provided.
“Even though there’s efforts to help translate these key concepts between components that are sourced from different suppliers, they are often imprecise and error prone, which impacts conformance quality,” explained Wowak.
Researchers hope this study will help lay the foundation for future research on the relationship between health IT sourcing decisions and hospital performance. But fellow researcher, Professor Corey Angst at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business says business competition can hamper cooperation.
“Even though there are industry efforts to help translate key concepts between components that are sourced from different suppliers to improve interoperability, competing EMR firms have little incentive to get their systems to work and communicate with competitor systems,” Angst said. So integrating one system with another is time-consuming, expensive and potentially error-prone.”