Brailer makes a case for health-IT portability

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A New York Times op-ed by former national coordinator for health IT David Brailer makes an appeal to lawmakers to push for portability with legislation aimed at broadening access to electronic health records for caregivers and personal health records (EHRs) for patients. However, Brailer is concerned that a new bill under consideration will actually make health records less portable. “The key to digital medicine is portability. Imagine arriving at an emergency room, swiping a security card, and having your medical records appear instantly,” he wrote. One central roadblock to achieving portability for health records is for the House and Senate to iron out differences between two recent bills that encourage EHR adoption. “The Senate version links portability to [EHR] donations, whereas the House version does not. Opponents of the House bill argue that it is too early to set standards for portability, that portability will slow adoption of electronic health records, or that electronic health record donations should be prohibited altogether,” Brailer wrote. Brailer feels that the big danger in blocking portability is a vote in favor of proprietary health information. “None of us would want to be treated any place where health information is proprietary and shared only in order to advance business interests. Think what it would be like to be in an emergency room where a doctor can’t make lifesaving decisions because your health information is at a competing hospital,” he wrote.