Artificial Intelligence, TeleHealth, and challenges to overcome
For the last 15 years, EHRs have been the topic of keen interest. Healthcare has been witnessing hasty adoption of the new solution, prompted by the Meaningful Use program. It aimed at shifting the US health system to EHRs in order to improve its quality and efficiency. And that move was impactful indeed.
According to the Definitive Healthcare platform, 98% of US hospitals use EHRs. These databases contain patient medical history, lab results, imaging data, contraindications, e-prescriptions, information of outpatient visits, and more. EHRs have already proved themselves to be efficient at reducing the paperwork load on physicians, providing them immediate access to real-time information on patients, and improving diagnostics.
Despite the twenty-year history, the above system is still in the early phase of its development. The stage of EHR vendors’ consolidation is almost completed, and the main market players are determined. Now, when each healthcare facility uses its EHR solution, issues arise concerning more effective and efficient usage of the technology.
Most EHR users are now at the stage of its optimization. That means ensuring the system works properly in terms of enhancing physician and patient satisfaction, reducing costs, and achieving better revenue. The most relevant trends in the optimization of electronic databases are their interoperability, standardization, accessibility, and user customization. Let’s look at each of them in more detail.
Interoperability and standardization
The Definitive Healthcare blog listed Epic Systems Corporation, Cerner Corporation, MEDITECH, Evident, and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions as leaders in EHR software development. Suffice to say that the first two companies cover half of the US market. So here we are with multiple EHR platforms, each of them with its unique features, user interface, and database.
It is as clear as day that these systems need to integrate to ensure seamless and effective care for patients turning to several health providers. The Statewide Health Information Network for New York is an example of such interoperability. For the platforms to interact, well-documented standards for information sharing must be developed.
The key issues here are who has access to patients’ information and the way it is available.
Of course, clinics, insurers, and patients themselves are authorized to view the EHR records. It looks like there is a tendency though that the patients will shortly have ultimate control over their data. This is possible owing to the blockchain technology used in EHRs. Anthem, one of the largest insurance companies in the US, is already working on an app based on the blockchain approach. Thus, patients will be able to provide others with limited access to their data by sharing a QR code.
Among the latest trends determining the way of viewing EHR records are mobile health applications that are gaining popularity. The Research and Markets’ study reports that the mHealth app industry is going to grow up to $102.35 billion by 2023.
In one of Definitive Healthcare’s recent surveys, 35% of the respondents mentioned a lack of user-friendliness as one of the biggest problems in EHRs. There are way too many clicks to perform the actions needed, and the platform’s structure seems to be not clear enough.
The leading EHR vendors are working on solutions to enhance the end-user experience. One of the examples is the chatbot created by Asparia to ensure the seamless communication of patients with their physicians.