Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a popular digital medical record system and it is being adopted by many health care organizations around the world. Physicians have greater demands and expectations and they need more comfort and ease to check their patients and deal with them. For this reason, the EHR vendors are trying their best to work more on the benefits of this system so that they can make the most of it. According to a survey of US physicians in 2018, the physicians are affected because of the lack of the burden of documentation. The physicians feel ignored because they don’t have any role in the HER systems and thus they feel there is lack of interoperability. The EHR vendors and the health systems should thus involve the physicians too and improve the functionality and workflow of EHR.
Reducing the documentation burden:
According to a survey, physicians are of the view that there is a lot of improvement needed in the EHR. Things such as data entry, charting, and capturing visit notes can help the physicians a lot. The improvement in the whole documentation system can have a good impact on their performance as there is a lot of information that is inputted on the forms, and that can be synced to the whole system. The automation of documentation is very necessary, and an old tool named as Dictaphone can help in this regard too. This tool help to convert the dictated notes into structured information because of the advanced technology. Natural language processing (NLP) is another tool that helps to extract the important data and information from the discharge summaries, progressive reports, pathology reports, and radiology findings. Though this technology is expensive, many organizations are experimenting with the tool to improve the efficiency of EHR. NLP also needs the expertise of computer science specialists, but the off-the-shelf NLP software is more accessible. The EHR inputs can also benefit from other technologies such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. According to a report on physician alignment strategies, the EHR usage metrics can be used to track the process of EHR optimization initiatives. Such as the extensive length of documentation indicate inefficiencies at some levels. Also, long documentation after work hours or time per appointment indicates poorly designed note templates or inefficient use of note templates. There are many healthcare organizations that have already started working on the improvement of a physician’s documentation experience. Overall, many surveys indicate that physicians are of the view that there is much room for the improvement in clinical documentation. The daily documentation tasks can be done more efficiently if automation is considered.
Interoperability of EHR:
Physicians say that interoperability is the top area in EHR that needs improvement. Most of the healthcare organizations face challenges and difficulties at various levels related to interoperability. This is because different parts of a healthcare organization have different EHR systems, especially if it’s a large one with mergers and acquisitions. Also, data security is needed because of the increase in number of various connected devices. To improve the interoperability within EHR, the vendors must use various tools and techniques such as custom-built solutions, health information exchange (HIE) approaches, and blockchain to make sure the data is securely exchanged. The healthcare organizations face interoperability challenges because the health systems and physicians need to exchange the data such as patient’s information and clinical data with other health care providers, health insurers, or government agencies. FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource) has also evolved over the years and it is being used by many organizations for the improvement of the EHR systems. Also, there is a growing demand by the consumers to access their own medical information.
The physician’s or clinician’s workflow also needs improvement if you want to implement a successful EHR system at your place. To improve this, one step is to make the EHR accessibility through mobile devices easier and better. The physicians should be free from data entry especially if they are in the emergency department, and the EHR can help increase the physicians’ workflow and efficiency in this regard. Some health care organizations invest more in the staff and other technology beside EHR to provide assistance to the physicians. However, EHR can prove to provide greater benefits in improving the workflow of the clinicians and the physicians.
EHR and the physicians’ feedback:
To keep the physicians involved in the EHR system and its improvements, an organization must take feedbacks from them. Physicians should be aware of the EHR optimization efforts so that they can also give suggestions to improve the overall efficiency of the systems. Physicians’ feedback can be taken through townhall meetings, physician engagement surveys, and other means. EHR usage analytics can help in evaluating how the physicians use EHR and benefit from it, and thus improvements can be made on this basis.
The EHR systems and improved workflow can benefit physicians and also increase the overall efficiency of a healthcare organization. The use of new technologies can be used to make the EHR better and for that the healthcare organizations and EHR vendors must not wait for other advanced and next-generation technologies. Some steps can be taken to improve the workflow of organizations such as optimizing the workflow, proactively seeking physician feedback, communicating progress, ensure ongoing support, and staying aware of the latest technologies for the EHR systems.