Calling the Shots: Nursing News and Notes

Time to Expand EHR Expectations

Time to Expand EHR Expectations

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
As vendors work out the kinks of EHR affordability, implementation and interoperability - the future is now.

Use of electronic health record (EHR) technology has increased significantly over the past decade. Recent years have focused on acceptance, usability and interoperability of EHR systems. But if all your hospital wants from an EHR system is a functioning digital record of a patient’s treatment history, it may be time to raise your expectations.  

According to a recent report in Healthcare Dive, the future of EHR options is wide open as vendors work out the kinks of affordability, implementation and interoperability.

The time to think big is upon us.

What would you want from your EHR system offer beyond an electronic health record? The Healthcare Dive article mentions a handful of possibilities.

NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING

Natural language processing, or the ability of the EHR system to understand spoken human speech, would certainly enhance usability and efficiency for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians.

“While doctors complain about the time they spend entering data into EHRs, it’s critical that their notes are part of the patient record,” the article explains. “Natural language processing offers a way to capture the physician’s expertise in the clinical record in an efficient way.”

ENHANCED CLINICAL DECISION SUPPORT

EHR technology could be upgraded to better assist clinicians in evidence-based clinical decisionmaking.

“We have decision support 1.0 today in order sets and drug-drug/drug-allergy alerts and other alerts that the EHR has natively within the workflow,” Chase Titensor, manager at Top Tier Consulting, told Healthcare Dive.

“If you move beyond that, how do you start to incorporate the latest in research and patient outcomes for different treatment protocols, and how do you offer that up to the clinical decisionmaker at the moment of decision? I think that’s a really natural extension of EHR functionality.”

VIRTUAL VISITS

Telehealth apps, the article points out, are becoming more common. Yet technology that supports virtual visits usually runs separate from the EHR system. That could change with tomorrow’s EHR systems, which could boost telehealth capabilities by incorporating them into their programs.

NONCLINICAL YET CRITICAL ISSUES

Another potential trend mentioned in the piece includes having EHR systems address nonclinical yet still critical obstacles for some patients: healthy eating and transportation. Integration with companies like Uber or online grocery delivery services could easily provide patients with additional services to enhance their health and care.

AN EHR APP STORE?

To make way for such enhancements, some are pushing for open platforms for EHR systems that would allow for the easy integration of third-party apps.

“It opens up a whole different world of opportunity when that interface to data is truly standardized,” said Stan Huff, chief medical officer at Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, in the article. ”What it means is that third-party application developers would be able to create an application that could run without modification against any of the systems that work with those standard databases.”

Picture it: an app store along the lines of Apple or Amazon that lets hospitals and practices shop for the individual EHR apps that would best serve their needs with the click of a button.

A set-up like that could offer many more bells and whistles beyond those mentioned here. In the meantime, an EHR system that understands what caregivers are saying and offers support for clinical decisionmaking and even virtual visits could make a world of difference in patient care.

“Adding these capabilities to EHRs would likely result in more one-on-one time with patients, greater clinical intelligence, and improved patient outcomes,” the article states. “For patients, boosting EHRs’ capabilities could lead to better care coordination and access to care.”

What capabilities would you love to see in an EHR system? Leave us a comment below. 

For more information on how the Lippincott Solutions evidence-based, institutional software suite supports EMR-based care delivery via easy linking and integration, click HERE or visit http://lippincottsolutions.com/emr

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