How Electronic Health Records Can Improve Patient Care?
Electronic health records do more than collect and store patient information. Increasingly, these records compute and communicate the data, providing insights that can make a difference in treatment.
HealthIT.gov reports that 75 percent of healthcare providers say their EHR enables them to deliver better patient care, which results in higher patient satisfaction rates and fewer medication errors, among other benefits.
These systems, though associated with higher physician stress and burnout, can be lifesaving when managed efficiently. Data shared in an EHR can help clinicians choose the right medication for a patient with allergies, for example, or provide history on an unresponsive patient when they arrive at an emergency room.
An EHR can also play a role in public health outcomes by allowing clinicians to look more meaningfully at patient data when it comes to their current medications and specific conditions such as high blood pressure or low blood sugar.
The path to high functionality is a slow process. But most improvements in today’s EHRs can be attributed to the ever-growing prevalence of technology in patient’s lives and a demand for medical tools to be more intuitive and user friendly, says Dr. Bruce Darrow, chief medical information officer for Mount Sinai Health System in New York.
“We think there’s really significant opportunity as you look years down the road of a physician just being able to speak out loud and have that picked up and transcribed accurately into a medical record,” says Bosco. “We’ve got a whole list of advanced capabilities that we believe a next-generation records system should have, and that’s certainly one of the bigger ones.”
Those capabilities include collecting real-time data from wearables and Internet of Things devices within the records system and using AI and machine learning to help clinicians interpret that data.
For now, Bosco believes that electronic records systems are already making a significant positive impact, despite “a cost that is not insignificant.”
Still, he says, “it’s definitely helped with sharing information. And the more a physician understands about your medications, your problems, your allergies, your history, your health history, the better off they are in being able to treat you.”