The Importance of Design for Electronic Health Records

By CIOReview | Monday, August 6, 2018
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Healthcare organizations have mostly been successful in the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) judging statistics from the last few years. 2008-2015 survey data show a 5.3 percent increase of EHR adoption with 80.5 percent hospitals having adopted at least basic EHR systems. Such widespread EHR adoption is a result of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.

The next step forward after successful EHR adoption will be to concentrate on improving EHR design and increasing data flow to and from an EHR. When properly utilized, design plays an enormous role in EHR development. To build a superior EHR, designers ought to discuss with physicians and nurses and other players involved in healthcare to verify they are doing a good job of designing the EHR. Frontliners in patient care are the ones having perceptive insights into how technology can enhance the process of patient care.

When looking at current technology investments and innovative techniques for improving the use of patient data volumes contained in EHRs, larger healthcare organizations are hesitant to replace their systems. A complete overhaul of the EHR system would cost millions for most large healthcare entities, or close to a billion in some cases. After spending excessive figures in installing these systems, hesitance is a given.

Conversely, physician practices being smaller than hospital chains show readiness for EHR system overhauls. A particular mention would be practices whose contracts with hospital chains have expired and are on the lookout for investments in new technology. The perspective of such physicians in this situation is to take the reins of workload management and care plans into their own hands.

EHR-enabled performance monitoring and patient engagement are crucial in enhancing hospital performance. Good EHR builds constitute an iterative design process involving the user for queries about the provision of great patient care. Keeping in mind that users are not designers, the former can’t provide all the direction. Designers can make sure the EHR represents the user’s needs for patient care in the best way.

Smart design gives way to better productivity with fewer errors committed, ultimately allowing healthcare organizations to save money significantly over time. If EHRs were designed for users to forego different hoops and hurdles of documenting and reporting, they would have ample time to provide direct patient care. Designers can scour for trends to identify workflow improvement and end-user guidance to streamline synchronization across the entire continuum of care.