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Next Now: Weathering the COVID-19 crisis, shaping the future of care delivery

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and other health crises that might arise in the future, what we once thought of as nice-to-have in healthcare is now mission-critical.

To manage rapidly shifting critical care across populations, EHR systems must be interoperable as well as optimized to deliver patient data and quickly adapt care plans as the situation changes and new information emerges.

Many providers already have the technology in place to adapt in times of crisis. But recognizing how to best manage care — and which tools are available to help — are keys to activating existing systems.

The tools to fight pandemic are already here

During a healthcare crisis, all health IT systems must be oriented to delivering care in a challenging environment. Providers must be able to deploy multiple modalities rapidly, as needed, as well as track data between care episodes and patients. And ultimately, patients must be the focus.

None of this is new to healthcare practices, however. Improving interoperability has been a goal and even a need for many years now, with recent government regulations promoting information sharing and adherence to standards such as HL7 FHIR. Tools that enable patients to communicate with their providers have also become more common. These are essential for safely communicating with patients during a pandemic, and even diagnosing and treating them when possible.

With the capabilities built into their systems, some healthcare organizations have already achieved promising outcomes in battling COVID-19. Others may still have significant challenges to overcome but can still equip themselves for the crisis.

IT partnership, unlocking the system you have

The challenges providers already have are magnified during a crisis and are even more important to address effectively. In the case of COVID-19, it is vital to be able to capture patient statuses, manage resources, and take precautionary measures as needed, which may vary across locations. An influx of patients with constantly changing information also raises a need for additional IT support.

Again, many health providers already have what they need to manage these issues. An IT partner can help identify opportunities in the system in place. Allscripts has been offering this support to provider partners, as well as add-ons to strengthen it even further.

Solutions include additional triage and virtual health tools as well as workflow support that enable key functions during COVID-19, such as capturing and documenting patient COVID-19 status and alerting other users to this status. All these can be built into the existing EHR if they are not already there.

In the just-released issue of our eMagazine, Next Now, we explore solutions rolling out now that meet the current pandemic head-on and discuss how they will shape healthcare delivery for good.

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