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Hand Surgery 2020: We Can Dream, Can’t We?

By Julie B. Samora, MD, PhD

There are so many avenues we could pursue as a community to enhance care for our patients, improve satisfaction, streamline efficiency of care, and increase overall safety.  If I could only choose one issue to tackle for 2020 (one teensy-weensy issue), it would be to develop universal interoperability in healthcare. 

Can you imagine being able to have a universal imaging system, to be able to personally view radiographs, MRIs, ultrasounds, and CT scans from any location in the US? (Or, since we are setting lofty goals, anywhere in the world?) Can you envision having the capability to read the notes from the cardiologist across the state; to see your patient’s labwork, even if it were drawn from a competing facility; for the primary care doctor of one of your shared patients to have direct access to your clinic notes? With such a variety of software programs, competing interests, diverse levels of sophistication, and groups working in silos, we are missing such a great opportunity. 

Data should be able to be shared between clinicians, laboratories, hospitals, surgery centers, pharmacies, and imaging centers, regardless of location, application vendor, EHR platform, or healthcare system. This degree of interoperability would improve healthcare quality, delivery, efficiency, productivity, and would minimize duplication of testing, time wasted in trying to track down information, errors, and costs. I imagine it could also have the potential to improve provider satisfaction and morale, and enhance the overall patient experience.

This efficient exchange of healthcare data would be my wish for 2020. 

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