By Bryson Wong and Jon Follett
with Juhan Sonin and Edwin Choi
The great promise of electronic health records (EHR) is one of improved care through increased communication and care coordination between providers and patients. Yet, despite the legislative push for meaningful use in 2009 and accompanying financial incentives, nearly a decade later, EHR solutions remain immature and not fully realized. The good news is that over 85% of hospitals have implemented an electronic medical record system. However, a number of factors—including extensive data entry, incomplete records, and a lack of standards for communication between systems—have limited the impact and in some cases made aspects of care, like patient doctor interaction, even worse. So, how can we get closer to that elusive promise of improved care, access, and digital service? For the Office of National Coordination for Health Information Technology (ONC), standardization is one of the top priorities: This focus highlights the critical, yet neglected role that standardization plays in healthcare.