EHR interoperability: still a dream

June 8, 2007

At the recent Towards The Electronic Patient Record (TEPR) convention in Dallas, it was announced that Adobe Systems and Intel are working on a new version of the ubiquitous PDF standard for health care (Bio-IT World, May 22). The new PDF-H will reportedly be more secure than standard PDF, with digital signatures providing audit trails.

At the recent Towards The Electronic Patient Record (TEPR) convention in Dallas, it was announced that Adobe Systems and Intel are working on a new version of the ubiquitous PDF standard for health care (Bio-IT World, May 22). The new PDF-H will reportedly be more secure than standard PDF, with digital signatures providing audit trails.

Some observers suggest that the PDF-H might supplement the Continuity of Care Record, which different EHRs may or may not be able to import and which hasn't yet provided a real interface between EHRs from different vendors. But even though most people have Adobe's program on their computer desktops, moving data around by PDF attachments to e-mail is still a pale substitute for real interoperability among EHRs. At the end of the day, it's just one more document that's not searchable within discrete data fields in your EHR.