Why Healthcare’s Lack of Interoperability Is Unethical

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July 17, 2015

The current lack of interoperability between medical devices and other healthcare IT tools represents both a safety dilemma and an ethical issue, according to leaders with the Center for Medical Interoperability.

Michael Johns, M.D., founding chairman of the center, and William Stead, M.D., chairman of the center’s technical advisory committee–in a post to Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review–call data sharing efforts of healthcare organizations “complex” and “redundant,” noting that most tools have their own separate interfaces. To that end, they say, hospitals are forced to invest precious resources in additional systems to ensure all devices and systems talk to one another.

“This lack of plug-and-play interoperability can compromise patient safety, impact care quality and outcomes, contribute to clinician fatigue and waste billions of dollars each year,” Johns and Stead write. With that in mind, they say the industry has “an ethical obligation” to push for improved tools.

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