Interoperability Creates Healthcare for (All) the Ages

May 04, 2020

When I was a kid it wasn’t uncommon for everyone in a family — kids, parents, even grandparents — to go to the same healthcare clinic. Adults would see one doctor and, most of the time, the kids would all see the pediatrician until they turned 18. When issues popped up, the doctor would simply check the medical chart, which lived in a folder behind the receptionist’s desk.

Fast forward to today and it’s clear there’s been a generational shift. Many Americans don’t even have a primary care physician. Millennial and Gen Z patients are relying on urgent care clinics over PCPs, making it harder to have a unified and complete picture of their clinical history and care. Our population is aging, too, with roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 daily. And according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicesmany suffer from chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure (58%), heart disease (29%) and diabetes (27%). A recent survey found that American patients have seen an average of 18.7 different doctors during their lives. But for patients over 65 years of age, the average increases to 28.4 individual doctors, including primary care, specialists, hospital and urgent care providers.

Times they are a-changin’. And with change comes a greater need for interoperability and information sharing.

In today’s fragmented care environment, and with six different generations accessing and receiving healthcare in different ways, it’s more critical than ever to be able to quickly locate and access clinical records. In the best of times or during a global pandemic, unlocking safer, higher quality and lower cost healthcare is essential.

According to our 2019 National Progress Report, Surescripts exchanged more than 330 million links to clinical document sources, an increase of 211% over the previous year. Clinicians exchanged more than 143 million documents listing where patients had previously received care, a 45% increase over 2018.

Last year we connected care providers with the actionable intelligence they needed, including clinical history data, so they could make better-informed care decisions. Use of Surescripts Record Locator & Exchange, which lets clinicians quickly see where patients have received care and locates medical records from across all 50 states, regardless of care setting and EHR, was up, too, with 28% more clinicians using the service nationwide. And regardless of whether the patient is a baby boomer, a Gen Xer or a millennial, providers who use it get a more complete picture of a patient’s care history.   

Yes, healthcare is changing. How people of all ages are accessing healthcare is changing. Surescripts’ commitment to offering innovations that lead to safer, better, lower cost care? That remains constant. Read more about our solutions, as well as our impact.  

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