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Shutting down the 'sneakernet' with interoperability

February 5th, 2014

by Joseph Smith and Michael Johns

When we were young physicians in training, computers had yet to take a leading role in clinical care. Data about patients, like vital signs, lab results and medication orders were not delivered electronically, but instead by a 'sneakernet,' of physicians, nurses, aids and technicians who would carry these notes, reports, files and even single numbers hastily scribbled on loose bits of paper, or even their own scrubs, from one location to another.

It might surprise you that we still rely on this sneakernet every day in modern' healthcare. How did the communications revolution that transformed industries such as banking, entertainment and telecom somehow leave healthcare behind?

It certainly was not due to a lack of vision or promises. Medical device manufacturers, electronic medical record vendors, CIOs, CMIOs and legions of healthcare futurists--yours truly included--have described a future of a seamless, connected array of smart and learning devices that form a rich, intelligent net around patients, helping to coordinate care and collect critical observations.

Read the full article at FierceEMR to learn more.

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