Modern Healthcare and ECRI Institute Address Interoperability Challenges and Risks

May 24, 2012, 10:46 ET from ECRI Institute

New white paper provides insights for healthcare leaders

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the healthcare industry transforms itself through multiple stages of healthcare reform, it is painfully apparent that an organization's ability to succeed depends upon critical health IT connections. The interoperability of data between clinical systems is the bridge that connects million-dollar electronic medical record expenditures with the effective exchange of health information, according to a new Modern Healthcare Insights white paper, co-developed by ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit that researches the best approaches to improving patient care.


"Hospitals were not originally intended to become megatechnology centers, yet that is what they have become in order to survive and thrive today," said Julie Weissman, research director at Modern Healthcare. "This new paper takes an important look at electronic health records and connectivity among institutions."

"The Path to Interoperability: Turning Awareness into Action" white paper features observations and perspectives from ECRI Institute on health information exchange and medical device connectivity, a checklist for making critical connections, and key recommendations for effective implementation. Real-world experiences are provided through case studies from NorthShore University HealthSystem, Grande Ronde Hospital, the Indiana Network for Patient Care, and the Continuum of Care Improvement Through Information New York (CCITI NY).

"Access to clinical information at the time of transfer is essential in the coordination of quality patient care, especially between long term care and other settings. The CCITI NY initiative has created a practical health information exchange platform to allow clinicians to obtain critical information to improve care for patients and to reduce events that lead to avoidable hospital readmissions," said Scott C. Amrhein, president, Continuing Care Leadership Coalition, the long term care affiliate of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

"We consider issues of clinical information exchange across the continuum of such importance that we included this insightful paper among the materials received by all of our member organizations at our recent annual meeting," noted Amrhein.

Results of the readiness assessment survey conducted last year by ECRI Institute and its strategic partner, s2a Consulting, are included in the paper and reveal that healthcare executives are slow to take action. While 84% of respondents fully understood the need for timely health information exchange, only 54% of the survey respondents indicated that their organizations had formally assessed the degree of interoperability required across their health community.  

"Without effective data exchange, providers will be challenged to meet meaningful-use objectives for storing structured data and health information exchange," cautioned Thomas E. Skorup, FACHE, vice president of applied solutions, ECRI Institute.

"It's not uncommon for technology advances to have glitches," noted James P. Keller, vice president of health technology evaluation and safety, ECRI Institute. "A strong clinical engineering presence is critical to successful interoperability," Keller said.

The paper, available for sale from, is a comprehensive guide for healthcare executives that covers:

  • Levels of interoperability
  • How to maximize technology for coordinated care
  • Opportunities for targeted community health improvements
  • Leading indicators for exchanging health information
  • Next steps for organizations to take to establish critical connections

For more information about the white paper, contact Modern Healthcare's Research Director Julie Weissman at or (312) 649-5459.

For information about ECRI Institute's assistance with medical device connectivity and health information exchange, contact Tom Skorup by telephone at (610) 825-6000, ext. 5160; by e-mail at; by fax at (610) 834-1275, or by mail at 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, USA.

About ECRI Institute
ECRI Institute, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to bringing the discipline of applied scientific research to healthcare to discover which medical procedures, devices, drugs, and processes are best to enable improved patient care. As pioneers in this science for nearly 45 years, ECRI Institute marries experience and independence with the objectivity of evidence-based research. Strict conflict-of-interest guidelines ensure objectivity. ECRI Institute is designated an Evidence-based Practice Center by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. ECRI Institute PSO is listed as a federally certified Patient Safety Organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Find ECRI Institute on Facebook ( and on Twitter ( For more information, visit

About Modern Healthcare
Modern Healthcare is the most trusted business news and information brand in the healthcare industry, with an editorial mission based upon the highest journalistic standards. We ask the tough questions and deliver news, insight, and analysis on today's most important topics. By combining the power of a print publication, 24-7 digital news products, robust research and event platforms, Modern Healthcare delivers the most comprehensive suite of news products, empowering healthcare leaders and influencers to make timely and informed business decisions. To learn more or subscribe, go to