The Case for Using USCDI in EMR Integration

With the potential to increase the quality of patient care, reduce physician burnout, and increase the capabilities of digital medicine, data interoperability promises a number of benefits to the healthcare industry. The ability to communicate data instantaneously in an easy-to-digest format seems like a distant dream for hospital systems using most EHRs, but Iron Bridge - a leader in EMR Integration - has made interoperability in the healthcare industry more attainable and affordable than ever before. How do we do this? We’ve developed our platform to support USCDI standards over FHIR.  What does this mean for EMR integration and for a number of vendors across the industry? We’re here to break it down for you.

What is USCDI?

Mastering EMR Integration with a Defined Set of Standards

EMR Healh Integration

An inherent issue exists in achieved data interoperability and EMR integration within the healthcare industry. All the data needs to, in essence, speak the same language for it to be easily translated from vendor to vendor. This involves creating standards in the way data is created and formatted from the start.

This is where USCDI - or the United States Core for Data Interoperability - comes in; by creating a set of data elements for advanced information exchange that all ‘speak a consistent language,’ the data can be transferred to and used by physicians, insurers, labs, registries, and patients themselves. USCDI created a base expectation across the industry that allows the data to be exchanged freely and openly.

This effort is far from proprietary in nature. Several attempts to regulate the flow of health information for EMR integration have been made - namely, by HL7 with FHIR - but interoperability still cannot be achieved due to the urgency that remains when implementing FHIR standards (which we’ll touch on in a moment).

It’s expected that the federal government could mandate the use of USCDI over FHIR in the name of progress within the healthcare industry, but such progress has yet to be completed on the federal level.

USCDI vs. FHIR: Which is Better for EMR Integration?

Issues with FHIR Implementation Lead to the Need for Stronger Standards

USCDI vs FHIR

As mentioned, USCDI isn’t the only governing body looking to create standards for EMR integration and healthcare interoperability. HL7 has made progress in creating standardized, shareable data with FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). However, FHIR leaves a small portion of the integration up to the vendor itself. While small, this freedom creates some challenges as vendors need to support a number of FHIR variations when designing their own system.

USCDI, however, is based on the common clinical data set and focuses on the information that needs to be exchanged for patient care. While the EHR Association hasn’t yet rallied behind USCDI, USCDI removed the barriers that exist due to variations in FHIR implementation. Iron Bridge - a leader in EMR integration - creates affordable managed integration software that supports USCDI in addition to FHIR, allowing your system to achieve total integration at scale. 

Why does Iron Bridge work with both USCDI and FHIR? The answer is simple. Interoperability within the healthcare industry isn’t something that can be done halfway. Iron Bridge sees the value that EMR integration adds to many levels of the healthcare industry, and because of this knows that their clients deserve interoperability that is seamless.

Challenges Faced with USCDI Implementation

Achieving EMR Integration with USCDI Involves a Few Road Blocks

EMR integration challenges solved

When choosing Iron Bridge for your EMR integration and healthcare interoperability, you can rest assured that you’re achieving your integration goals for a quoted fair transparent price and have the experts on your side for the entire process. 

When it comes to making the switch over to USCDI standards, EHR vendors are most heavily impacted. Not only do USCDI standards need to be implemented, but FHIR standards still need to be supported. This is a fairly simple process for EHRs using a centralized API, but EHRs lacking this centralization enter a two-step process for implementation across their customers.  Not only do USCDI need to fall into place, but FHIR resources need to be made readily available. All in all, this transition is in the hands of Iron Bridge -- leaving the EHR vendor to continue business as planned.


Think it’s time to make interoperability a priority for your EHR? Get in touch with Iron Bridge today to get started.

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