Thursday, March 22, 2012

Can Healthcare IT Be Like the Railroads?

Conn, Joseph. "Can Healthcare IT Be Like the Railroads?" Modern Healthcare, March 21, 2012.

From the article: "To be most effective, standards should be used by everyone; but must everyone pay for those standards?For most U.S. railroads, variability in rail gauge—the distance between the rails—is no longer a barrier it once was to the interoperability of rolling stock. With passage of the Pacific Railway Act in 1863, the federal government adopted 4 feet 8 1/2 inches as the U.S. standard gauge for the transcontinental railroad, thus promoting its widespread adoption and facilitating the movement of goods and passengers from one rail line to another.  But neither the federal government nor the rail industry needed to spend a lot of money maintaining our national rail gauge standard, largely because 4 feet 8 1/2 inches is the same distance today as it was 149 years ago.

Would that the healthcare IT industry be so lucky. Its multiple standards cost money to maintain because they must be updated frequently to keep pace with the changes in medicine and technology. That requires a process to propose those changes, vet, adopt and promulgate them." Read more