How electronic health records help improve the quality of patient care

How electronic health records help improve the quality of patient care

Many healthcare practitioners have already switched from paper to electronic health records (EHR). The upgrade is equal parts exciting and perilous, which is why the government imposed sanctions on how these records are protected. In 2015, Medicare started penalizing hospitals and doctors that didn’t use EHR, but with their heavy burdens, it's not surprising that most healthcare practitioners view them as more of a requirement than an opportunity.

There’s actually a good reason why healthcare professionals should favor electronic records over paper: EHR systems are one of the best ways to improve the quality of patient care.

Proper healthcare depends greatly on access to complete, accurate, and timely patient information. Thanks to EHR and advancements in healthcare information technology, medical practitioners now have access to a bevy of tools that can improve their ability to diagnose properly, reduce or prevent errors, and improve patient outcomes. Here are 4 ways EHR is improving the quality of patient care.

#1 EHR solutions tailor-fit to your needs

There is an abundance of EHR solutions available in the market. Many of these software packages and platforms offer to “do it all,” but you may end up paying for more than what you need. By identifying your needs first, you can then choose a solution that focuses on a specific aspect of your care:

  • Prescriptions tracking and management
  • Storing, sharing, and securing lab results or patient scans
  • Telemedicine
  • Long-term therapy

Having an EHR system that fits your needs means more efficient information management, which helps improve your delivery of healthcare.

#2 Access information from anywhere

With the proper security checks in place, EHR data can be encrypted and hosted in the cloud. This method is not only safe and economical, but it also simplifies information delivery. No need to wait for the doctor to get to his desktop computer. Patient information can be accessed anytime, anywhere using mobile devices. Authorized personnel can swiftly share notes and update a patient’s data. This speeds things up, from appointment scheduling to patient diagnoses and prescriptions.

#3 Automated insights and notifications

Technology can be used to help reduce the number of human errors, especially when it comes to monitoring a patient’s prescription. In October 2018, Oregon announced it will integrate prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) information into the EHR and pharmacy management systems of all prescribers and pharmacists in the state. This aligns with the state and federal efforts to reduce inappropriate prescriptions, improve patient outcomes, and promote more informed prescribing practices.

Automation is also perfect for saving money on tasks that are repetitive or do not require any human input, like providing discharged patients with automated reminders to refill their prescriptions or scheduling their follow-up consultations.

#4 Using big data analytics

For companies that employ more than 35 healthcare professionals, your business will quickly amass a huge amount of data. Using big data analytics will uncover valuable insights that can help improve outcomes while reducing costs. EHR systems can help gather such insights, including:

  • When to expect seasonal spikes of diseases and their treatments
  • Which has the most variable costs among your care processes
  • What variables lead to patients staying longer
  • Which treatments have the highest readmission rates

Easy access to this kind of business intelligence enables healthcare practitioners to further improve care delivery and reduce waste.

Time to switch or upgrade to an EHR system

Deciding to switch from paper to EHR is the easy part. As mentioned earlier, you need to choose from a myriad of options for the EHR system that suits your needs. Then you need to consider how your EHR system will be managed and supported. Will you house it in a server onsite, or will you host it in the cloud? Will you manage it yourself, or will you hire a managed services provider (MSP) to handle it for you? Furthermore, you need to make sure your system complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Does all that sound overwhelming? Then it’s best to leave things to the capable hands of our IT experts at Online Computers. We have extensive experience in the healthcare sector to ensure that your IT solutions are monitored, protected, updated, and HIPAA compliant — all that for a low monthly fee!

If you’re in or around Hanover, Morristown, or Madison, and you’d prefer to leave the technology to an MSP, then call us today. We’ll provide the IT solutions and services you need to succeed.

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