New ASCO System Confronts Lack of EHR Interoperability

Rachel Narozniak
Published: Thursday, Oct 03, 2019
Daniel Martin,

Daniel Martin, MD

With the recent launch of a free, open-source system for standardizing the electronic storage of patient records, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hopes to improve information flow across electronic health record (EHR) platforms and curtail the harms of information blocking by private aggregators and vendors of patient information.1

Figure 1. EHR Interoperability in Oncology4 (Click to Enlarge)

Paywalls for access to patient data within private networks of oncology practices constitute significant hindrances for information circulation.1 ASCO has expressed strong concern about physicians being charged by EHR vendors and document archiving services to access and exchange their own information. Charging for data access effectively constitutes a form of information blocking because it places “a clear roadblock in front of clinicians who are motivated to participate in quality measurement reporting and who wish to support research and improvements to quality of care,” ASCO said.3

Healthcare analytics and the aggregation of data pools have become big business: The practice of mining patient data and trading it for payment is not only common, but also profitable. To gain access to the valuable data that are accumulated, organized, and stored within EHRs, information seekers often must join a vendor’s network, which comes at a price.

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