Seemingly picking up where we left off in our recent white paper and Advisory Board article, the Obama administration released a 166-page draft plan January 30th intended to drive providers and patients toward a common set of electronic clinical information and a commitment to more fully connected EHR systems by the end of 2017.

While the 2017 date moves the timeframe for implementing a universal approach to health data well beyond that which was anticipated more than a decade ago, the detailed roadmap, along with a draft advisory on interoperability standards, is the most comprehensive and intentional effort we’ve seen on the part of the federal government in a number of years.

Although the goal of a truly nationwide health information exchange continues to be a slow train coming, as noted in our white paper and article, organizations that continue to operate their own systems on closed health information rails with disparate and proprietary platforms may be setting themselves up for organizational train wrecks. By getting ahead of the curve and implementing a seamless EHR, however, providers should see not only improvements in patient outcomes, but also a diminished ability on the part of regulatory authorities to bring claims of fraud, waste and abuse, and a reduction in medical malpractice liability exposure.