Electronic health record technology evolves rapidly. Five years ago, less than 75 percent of physician offices had adopted an EHR platform. Today, nearly all health care organizations use some kind of EHR system, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.
Although today’s health information technology is far more advanced than it was five years ago, there’s still room for improvement. First, let’s take a look at some of the current limitations of EHR technology.
The state of health information technology
At first glance, EHR technology seems like a godsend for physicians and patients alike. Here is an information sharing system that should allow providers to communicate with one another as well as with patient populations. However, many end users are frustrated that the communication ability of their EHR system is incomplete.
Public media outlet Next Avenue reported that, when disparate EHR platforms cannot share information effectively, it causes process redundancies.
“82 percent of patients access their provider’s portal.”
“I cannot believe in today’s day and age, if I need a report of someone’s simple blood or urine test from another hospital, we can’t [immediately] get it. We have to repeat the test. That’s common,” Manoj Jain, an infectious disease specialist, told Next Avenue.
Originally designed as billing systems, most EHRs lacked intuitive, patient-facing user interfaces. As a result, developers needed to play catch up. Working in a highly regulated space, and with nebulous user demands, improving the technology has proven to be a difficult task. But software engineers have made progress.
A survey from the American Health Information Management Association found that 82 percent of patients access their patient portal to view health records, renew medications, send messages to their provider or request appointments. It’s an improvement over previous years, but there’s still work to be done.
How technology could change in 2018
To understand how EHR platforms may change in 2018, it’s helpful to look at what doctors want from the technology.
The third annual Healthcare IT News EHR Satisfaction Survey revealed that many clinicians are frustrated by busy UI, which can make it difficult to find the right menu. While that might not seem like much, it can certainly influence the end user’s overall experience with the product. This can be especially frustrating when switching between intuitive consumer-grade applications and complex enterprise-level software.
Total integration and improved interoperability were two other main desires from survey respondents. It can be discouraging when clinicians have access to several useful applications, but none of those pieces can talk to one another. By improving integration among modules and expanding interoperability between systems, clinicians could see greater productivity and efficiency levels.
With all of that said, there remains the challenge for physicians to properly select and deploy the right solution for their needs. Most physicians want to devote their time to patient care rather than figuring out the right technology to deliver that care. That is where a company like Tangible Solutions can prove most valuable. Tangible Solutions has the knowledge and experience to sit down with medical practices and design the right solution for their needs. They will walk you through the process and remain with you to provide the follow up and support you desire. Working with their team of expert advisers means there are few limits to what physicians can expect from their technology.