While most healthcare experts agree that electronic health records will lead to significant improvements in the quality and availability of care, these improvements will rely on the ability of providers to share information with each other. For that to happen, much progress must be made in the development of a national health information exchange network.
The President's Advisors on Science and Technology recently wrote a report that underscored this exact issue, according to Government Health IT. The authors indicated that a national network for sharing health information is key to unlocking the potential of electronic health records.
The report says that governmental authorities will need to develop a set of standards of interoperability. Additionally, it calls for future rounds of meaningful use rules to focus more on encouraging the development of a national health exchange network and less on measure of quality and outcomes.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT is currently working on the second stage of meaningful use rules, and they may go into effect as early as 2012.