Undoubtedly, the portability of medical records, enabled by a variety of new technologies and business processes, will significantly impact the healthcare industry in the months and years ahead.   We should expect that HIE (Health Information Exchange) efforts will begin to bear fruit, and the organic and acquisitive expansion of health systems, as well as the increasing sophistication of these systems’ information technology infrastructure, will facilitate greater portability and exchange.

Certainly, those with chronic illness, and the elderly, will be beneficiaries of medical record portability and exchange, as both financial and clinical outcomes should improve with better information flow.  Payers, including CMS, should also benefit, as they likely have a significant role to play in the engagement of the patient as well as in managing efficient exchange.

The cost of adoption of information exchange technologies, and the ultimate distribution of technology costs between payers, providers and patients, will continue to play a role in the speed of product and technology adoption.  Regulation will also plays a key role, although programs like Stark Law exceptions for hospital systems, and efforts by the government to promote standards like HL7 indicate a regulatory environment receptive to change.

Certainly, allowing the right information to be in the right location at the right time along each paitents continuum of care is a powerful proposition.  I look forward to hearing from my AI colleagues regarding their understanding of the competing technologies emerging in health information exchange, as well as regarding the perspectives of payers (insurance), providers, and government, as they continue to play a leading role in HIE.