Hospitals are improving their ability to share information, but external barriers to increased data exchange remain, according to an AHA TrendWatch report released today. Eighty-nine percent of hospitals offered patients the ability to view their medical records online in 2014, up from 43% in 2013, while 57% share clinical data with hospitals outside their system, up from 22% in 2011. To further advance information sharing, the report calls for the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to ensure that electronic health records can support interoperability in a real-world environment. Currently, hospitals often must create separate interfaces for each department’s IT system to allow information to flow into the EHR, and more than a quarter of hospitals are required to pay additional costs each time they send or receive health data, the report notes. “Hospitals are actively promoting the exchange of data, but additional technology and infrastructure solutions are needed to ensure that health IT products are able to readily and easily communicate with one another,” the report concludes.