Creating the clinician’s ideal, interoperable EHR
Interoperability, where hardware and software from multiple vendors work together to deliver information regardless of where it came from, has progressed in the past few years. Challenges remain, however, especially for the clinicians who need the patient data to be available in ways that fit seamlessly in their workflow.
Looking at what interoperable systems are accomplishing today, and ahead to what they can accomplish in the future, I’ve identified some key challenges faced by clinicians in their daily work. These can be addressed through interoperable systems, and the good news is those systems already exist.
Daily challenges faced by clinicians
As clinician workflows vary across specialties and practice setting, there is no “universal” workflow, but some challenges and needs are consistent.
While beneficial, interoperability has added to the increasing quantity of information, today’s clinicians must address. Unless the information is presented well, the additional time needed to review it can add to the increasing problem of clinician burnout. Clinicians are also dealing with the reimbursement and regulatory changes that drive additional documentation and information review requirements.
Interoperable EHRs, by providing access to information, can offer better decision support to help prevent errors and increase efficiency by facilitating the use of information obtained elsewhere. Unfortunately, many of these workflows, however, can be cumbersome.
How the ideal EHR would help clinicians
With these challenges in mind, there are ways interoperability improves the EHR experience for clinicians.
As they already make information that supports workflows available to clinicians, these platforms should also offer capabilities to make the most relevant information the most easily available. Features such as search functions, optimized alerts and the highlighting of new information all facilitate this. To be accessible for use, systems should also be responsive to clinical users and adaptable to mobile, so clinicians can find information on whichever device they are using.
These kinds of features help leverage the interoperability we already have available. These functions are available, and by focusing how they’re presented in an EHR, we can address clinician challenges to improve care overall.
Allscripts is dedicated to promoting and prioritizing interoperable health IT systems. For more on the work we do and the results healthcare providers achieve in this way, see our ezine An Interoperable Future.