EHR Interoperability – Assignment Example

The paper “EHR Interoperability” is an exceptional example of an assignment on information technology. Open standard explains the mechanisms of storage, management, exchange, and retrieval of the data in electronic health records (EHRs). The advantage of using open EHR is that it stores all health data of an individual in a person-centered EHR that is independent of the vendor and suffices for a lifetime. The open EHR specification does not involve the sharing of data between the systems of EHR which happens to be the main focus of such alternative standards as HL7 and EN 13606. Other advantages of open EHR include lesser bureaucracy, increased interoperability between systems, and semantic interoperability. “[A]n effective EHR system must employ open standards and fully support interoperability if the information contained in an electronic record is to be truly usable in our healthcare environment’s distributed clinical setting” (Gioia, n.d.). Disadvantages of open EHR include a problematic exchange of data, lack of availability of efficient systems for the clinical inference, and problems related to the maintenance of open EHR. 
In spite of the general consensus about the inherent advantages obtained from the health information technology’s integration, certain legal implications of data sharing of EHRs remain. “A patient’s right to maintain certain health information confidential poses a significant legal challenge to interoperable EHRs” (Dunlop, 2007). The main legal challenges include but are not limited to the Stark anti-referral policies, and the regulations of the HIPAA’s privacy and security. HIPAA is the legislation’s broadest component that regulates the security and confidentiality of the data of patient care across a whole range of federal laws that draw upon the health information’s use. Although it does not safeguard the patient’s privacy directly, yet HIPAA imposes limits based on confidentiality upon the information generated to the entities of healthcare.