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Healthcare IT’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ problem

January 30, 2019 / Jeff Lagasse

In JRR Tolkien’s classic Lord of the Rings, the battle in middle earth is about getting control of the “one ring that rules us all.” A constructive analogy in healthcare is the quest to find that one solution that unites different systems and enables a seamless flow of data.

Earlier this month, a collective of seven hospital groups, led by the American Hospital Association (AHA) published a state-of-the-union report on that most vexing of problems in healthcare information technology – interoperability. Despite the billions in taxpayer-funded incentives to facilitate a near-total penetration of electronic health records (EHR) among the nation’s healthcare providers, interoperability between the numerous proprietary technology platforms remains an unfinished business (exacerbated by the “tolls” for access to data residing in proprietary systems).