The more we adapt to the new normal, the more we rely on digital technologies to have us covered in various aspects of our lives: shopping, communication, education, and healthcare. Each industry offers up-to-date solutions for remote experiences and interoperability. In healthcare, EHR systems have opened the way for streamlined patient data exchange regardless of physical location and the previous point of care.
Implementing electronic records has indisputable advantages as it enables more accurate diagnostics and decision-making. What bothers executives is the question if all solutions are as convenient and efficient as numerous vendors market them. That’s why today we’re not only serenading EHR systems but also paying attention to the pitfalls they hold.
Top benefits of EHR systems
First EHR systems appeared in the 70s and in the beginning of the 90s they were included in the top seven recommendations for more efficient patient care. In 2009, healthcare providers were encouraged to use electronic data at the national level, as they got higher payments if they met this condition.
In the previous century, medical workers appreciated almost the same benefits of EHR systems as we do today:
Benefit 1: They save time for both patients and staff
Like instant mediators, electronic records help clinicians access complete patient data in a few clicks, including the latest laboratory results and X-ray images. Data input is also simplified through the use of various templates applicable to the major patient encounters. This allows physicians to dedicate more time to the details of the case and focus on diagnostics instead of paperwork.
Once a system is fully integrated into a clinic’s workflow, front-office operations do not require double-checking and, therefore, take much less time. This prevents staff from being overwhelmed by the volumes of data and increases their efficiency.
Benefit 2: They guarantee high data accuracy
Certified EHR systems reduce the risk of medical errors as they eliminate a human factor from data processing. Moreover, access to medical charts improves decision-making and ensures clinicians are informed of any allergies or drug incompatibility.
When it comes to treatment, certified EHR systems smooth prescription management for both doctors and patients. Built-in alerts prevent errors, and patients can be sure they are getting clinically approved medications without deciphering a doctor’s handwriting.
Benefit 3: They enable collaborative patient care
Most patients are not very likely to remember all the procedures they’ve been through and all the medications they’ve been taking. And obviously, no one expects them to have all the papers with them while visiting a clinic in another location or in case of emergency.
With EHR systems, clinicians can access health information and provide quality care even if they see a patient for the first time. All the manipulations will later be available for other authorized physicians in a patient chart. In this way, care becomes more consistent as opposed to occasional symptomatic treatment.
Benefit 4: They bring a value-based healthcare model to life
The volumes of data that EHR solutions collect are a massive source for detecting patterns and creating predictive models. It’s a significant contribution to building preventive healthcare and improving long-term wellbeing outcomes, which are prerequisites to value-based medicine.
Key challenges of using EHR systems
Just like any powerful tool, electronic health record software should be used carefully and under certain rules. Here are the pitfalls you should be aware of before choosing a vendor:
Challenge 1: They are a tidbit for cybercriminals
Personal health information stored in EHR systems is extremely sensitive, which tempts criminals to hack it for ransom. They demand a steep price for it knowing any provider would rather pay than compromise their business reputation.
Solution: To prevent this sad scenario, make sure you’re using a certified EHR system provided by a reliable vendor who takes concrete steps to guarantee data safety.
For instance, developing Vault Medical Records, TEAM International considered stringent industry regulations, customer’s business goals, and end-user expectations. With this context, TEAM built the EHR system on AWS HIPPA-compliant infrastructure, ensuring data storage and tools are encrypted and cannot be used without authorization.
Challenge 2: They provoke ethical questions
Even without considering such critical issues as ransomware attacks, EHR systems give a lot to think about from the ethical perspective regarding access to confidential medical data. Patients need to be sure only staff members who are personally responsible for their case can view their records and only for medical purposes. Therefore, the question of authorization arises.
Solution: You should specify role-based privileges and permissions for each user or group inside your system. Trusted vendors include this functionality in their solution as they assign certain usernames and passwords according to the user’s role and control access levels.
Challenge 3: Implementing EHR systems is time-consuming
Transferring data to an electronic system might be time-consuming and result in lower revenue during the migration period. The other problem is that not all healthcare employees are tech-savvy enough to start efficiently using EHR solutions right away. You’ll have to invest in their education and training.
Solution: Ensure your vendor takes responsibility for seamless platform integration. Choosing a system with an intuitive interface will facilitate its adoption among your employees. Pay attention to solutions designed by professionals who know from their personal experience what a streamlined medical workflow means.
Working on the Vault Medical Records solution for post-acute care, TEAM International analyzed dozens of workflows and regulatory requirements to streamline healthcare delivery. Consequently, the provided clinician-centric UI highlights the vitals, shortens staff training and onboarding time, and prevents health facilities from revenue loss.
Challenge 4: They need to be scalable for the future
With the healthcare industry evolving fast, you will need to catch up with the new trends. This requires flexibility that is not always an option for complex, large-scale EHR systems.
Solution: To prevent the technology from holding you back, lay the groundwork for future growth during the project planning phase. Consider different software architectural styles and patterns, along with their benefits and drawbacks.
At TEAM International, we take into account customer’s business goals and design a project from scratch. Initiating Vault Medical Records’ development, we established features prioritization and requirements analysis as must-have practices. After the initial release, we continue monitoring the latest trends and updates to ensure flawless operation and unleash even more opportunities for the customer.
Instead of a long conclusion, let’s briefly review the benefits of EHR systems and the challenges offered by them. Understanding them will help you make an informed decision while choosing a vendor, not to mention how much time and money it will save you.