Electronic health records (EHRs) sit at the core of healthcare's ongoing digital transformation as a technology that promises tremendous benefits for large hospitals, health systems, and public health organizations. By transitioning to digital records, healthcare organizations can unlock innovations in patient care, research, cost savings, convenience, and overall efficiency. In this blog post, we will explore some of the major benefits of EHR systems and how they are driving progress across today's data-driven, value-based healthcare landscape. Adoption of EHRs provides a strategic foundation for healthcare organizations to enhance outcomes, reduce costs, and keep pace with emerging innovations that allow them to continuously improve.
Improved Patient Care
EHRs give caregivers a comprehensive view of a patient's medical history, medications, test results and more, helping to avoid dangerous drug interactions and ensure the right course of treatment. With all patient information integrated in one place, doctors have the full medical context to make well-informed care decisions in collaboration with their patients. Patients also benefit from greater engagement in their care as they can access their health records and share in decision making with their doctors.
Increased Efficiency and Cost Savings
EHRs also increase efficiency and reduce costs through decreased paperwork, improved staff productivity, and reduced medical errors. Doctors and nurses spend less time managing paper charts and hunting down patient information, allowing them to see more patients. EHRs also standardize and automate business processes, reducing the time spent on administrative tasks like billing, coding, and revenue cycle management. Implementing a EHR training program will serve to increase efficiency even further.
Enhanced Care Coordination
EHRs improve care coordination by allowing doctors, specialists, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers to securely share and access the same medical records. Patients see the benefits as EHRs reduce duplicated tests, conflicting prescriptions, and delays in treatment. Care coordination also reduces readmission rates and improves health outcomes as patients move between care settings. For example, a patient's hospital doctor could view the records from the patient's primary care physician to see a full list of medications before discharge. The nursing home or rehab facility would then have access to both hospitals and primary care records to continue seamless quality care.
Advanced Analytics for Population Health
EHR data provides opportunities for advanced analytics to gain insights, improve population health, and build a learning healthcare system. The aggregated electronic patient data can be analyzed to gain insights into health trends, outcomes, quality of care, and costs. Those insights then feed back to clinicians to optimize the delivery of care across communities and populations. Healthcare organizations can analyze EHR data to identify high-risk patients, detect patterns in diseases or care gaps, assess the effectiveness of treatments, and measure outcomes of health programs across groups. These population analytics pave the way for targeted quality improvement initiatives and precision medicine.
Improved Clinical Research
Data from EHRs provide a rich resource for clinical research and observational studies. By analyzing large sets of EHR data, researchers gain insights into treatment effectiveness, health trends, and patient outcomes that drive improvements in care delivery and progess in medicine. EHR-based clinical research is more efficient, less costly, and less risky compared to conventional research studies.
Enhanced Patient Experience
Electronic Health Record systems improve the patient experience through increased access, convenience, and price transparency. Patients can view their medical records and test results online, schedule appointments, pay bills, refill prescriptions, and communicate with their doctors electronically. Convenience options like telehealth visits, patient portals, and mobile health apps connected to the EHR save patients time and trips to the doctor's office. Price transparency tools give patients estimates of their out-of-pocket costs before they receive care. Overall, EHRs empower patients to take control of their healthcare experience.
The Benefits of an EHR System
For large healthcare organizations serving many patients, electronic health records are a transformative technology that enhances outcomes, optimizes operations, and builds a sustainable foundation for continued innovation. By digitizing and standardizing healthcare data, EHRs provide a platform to pursue new possibilities in patient care, improved clinical research, healthcare quality measurement, and integration of emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. EHRs fulfill the promise of modern healthcare: high-quality, coordinated care at lower cost through a learning health system. While there will always be EHR implementation challenges, it remains a strategic imperative for large hospitals and health systems aiming to deliver better value and meet the challenges of the future.