“A rose by any other name is still a rose…”

…But when it comes to healthcare IT can the same be true and are the terms really interchangeable?  I am referring in particular to the use of acronyms such as EHR, EPR, PAS and HIS and how each one is used. For example, can we clearly differentiate which supplier in this arena sells a full-blown HIS, versus an EPR, versus a PAS with clinical/department modules as add-ons? …Or if in actual fact, they  all have the same thing and it’s just a case of different suppliers expressing them in different ways?  Perhaps it’s the American influence creeping in again, brought about by those companies who in the USA do not have PAS’, referring to them instead as an EHR?

Argh, I can feel myself getting confused even as I write!

I discussed this with a couple of my colleagues as at first I thought it was me just thinking about things in the wrong way but they agreed that there is certainly confusion as to which is the right term to describe certain solutions…and they’ve heard the NHS staff say it too!  And whilst ‘Supplier A’ may be clear in their own mind that what they have is an EPR, what if, it’s actually a PAS they have with a couple of clinical systems?  EPR rolls off the tongue better and sounds more modern, granted, but then when Supplier B says they sell a HIS, are they in fact not saying they deliver the same thing?  I guess it all comes out in the wash when suppliers respond to a tender…

[Now, stay with me…]

Surely, the NHS have enough confusion to deal with, plus they have their own dictionary to remain fluent in, both medical and colloquial. Nevertheless,  diagnosis and treatment would be disastrous, quite simply, if it wasn’t just one acronym clearly meaning one thing! Rx for BRDIS – ADDG=COPD (apologies to anyone medical reading this, if I’ve got that slightly wrong !).  And imagine how misleading it would be for a patient if they were told they had AIDS, when in actual fact it was HIV.  And so for prospective customers’ sake and for your own, I would appeal to all suppliers of EPR, EHR, PAS, HIS, clinical, departmental systems, please be clear and defined in your use (not abuse) of these terms!  Perhaps discuss this with a reputable, healthcare only marketing agency who could help make sure your messages are clear, simple and effective….hmm, now there’s a thought!

While I’m on the topic of confusing terms does everyone truly understand the difference between integration and interoperability and/or interfacing?

No, wait…I’ll save that one for another time!

OMG!  I need a G&T!

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