In the last ten years there have been significant efforts made toward building a healthcare information technology (IT) infrastructure in the United States that allows for secure and reliable exchange of patient information between healthcare providers, medical professionals, individual patients, and their families. The success of these systems has tremendous implications for the overall health and well-being of the entire population—allowing providers and patients to have a more complete understanding of their particular needs. While individual patients are the centerpiece of these efforts, it is important to also acknowledge the impact that effective electronic health record (EHR) interoperability would have on healthcare policy by providing population-level data for national decision making. Despite the seemingly obvious benefits associated with health IT interoperability, numerous barriers still stand in the way of its successful implementation. The complexity of standardization, cultural challenges, physician burdens and burnout, privacy and security concerns, and high costs associated with EHR and HIE adoption are all challenges that remain to be addressed.
In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which sought to improve the national health care delivery system by digitizing all patient