Preparing for a more functional, cutting-edge future EHR
Healthcare of the future will require a more functional and automated electronic health record (EHR) system that is steeped in cutting edge tech including automation and AI, according to Deloitte.
The modern EHR system gets a bad rap. According to a recent survey from KLAS Research, 70% of ambulatory practices want their vendors to improve ease of use and usability. A recent paper in The Annals of Family Medicine indicated most physicians say they make less eye contact and listen less carefully when they’re using the EHR. Tellingly, nearly 75% of physicians reporting burnout identify frustration with their EHR as a contributing factor.
To better understand where improvements can be made, Deloitte recently interviewed CHIME members and interviewed EHR experts from providers, vendors, and government agencies to gain their perspective on what the EHR of the future should look like.
Here are three key findings from the report, along with tips to help health systems prepare for a next-generation solution that supports value-based care, interoperability, and consumerism.
EHRs need more consumer-centric functionality such as communication tools, appointment scheduling, and pre-visit registration. Tellingly, respondents said existing patient portals are unlikely to meet this need. (The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has noted that only 40% of patients use portals.) Solving the problem will require a focus on human- and equity-centered design – which recognizes that not all users are the same – and the acceptance that patients benefit from access to care plans and decision support in addition to a record of care that has already happened.
EHRs need to incorporate leading-edge technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), open application programming interfaces (APIs), and process automation. In addition, EHRs should better support a transition to the cloud, which organizations prefer over on-premises infrastructure due to the cloud’s redundancy, scalability, accessibility, and security. Altogether, this has the potential to position the EHR of the future not as a siloed, standalone system but as a technology platform that health systems and third-party vendors alike can build on top of.
EHRs need to expand core capabilities in five important areas.
- Interoperability of clinical, claims, genomic, and consumer data coupled with connectivity with multiple sites of care.
- Front- and back-office automation for billing, coding, and regulatory reporting, along with making data available for public health and research purposes.
- Clinical decision support tools available to patients as well as clinicians.
- Wellness plans that transcend episodic care and drive daily participation in healthy activities.
- Consumer engagement that includes scheduling, billing, and registration in addition to provider messaging.
With change on the horizon, Deloitte emphasized the importance of preparation. Organizations should prioritize EHR improvements that eliminate low-value tasks and as a result increase clinician satisfaction. In addition, Deloitte said technology leaders need to ensure their EHR vendor’s roadmap for automation and AI aligns with their priorities; otherwise, the EHR may pull them in a direction they’d prefer not to go. Finally, organizations should proceed with caution, testing new features in an iterative way, getting stakeholder feedback, and adjusting as necessary before beginning a system-wide rollout.