Prominent CIO predicts EHRs are headed in a more patient-centric direction

Healthcare is all about the patients. Electronic health records (EHRs) are designed to maintain those patients’ medical data in a seamless, secure environment. EHRs are also intended to provide a platform through which providers can communicate with each other and with their patients about their patients’ care. In a recent blog post, John D. Halamka, MD, MS, Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, describes what he envisions as a “transition from EHR 1.0 to EHR 2.0” as EHRs move toward being more patient-centric.

Dr. Halamka, who is also Chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN), Co-Chair of the HIT Standards Committee, a full Professor at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing Emergency Physician predicts that certain trends will impact the future of EHRs:

  • Fewer government mandates. EHRs will be able to focus more on results rather than simply recording activity.
  • Team-based care. Independent physicians will rely on staff and other physicians to assist with inputting data and prioritize patient messaging.
  • Value-based purchasing. The use of the EHR is moving away from fee-for-service payments and toward patient satisfaction. The next generation of EHRs “should include the functionality necessary to document care plans, variation from those plans, and outcomes reported from patient-generated healthcare data.”
  • Usability. Patients as well as physicians should have access to improved EHR usability, to more properly and actively manage their care.
  • Consumer driven. The patient needs to be included as an active participant in the care management process. Patient portals within the EHR should enable the patient to schedule appointments electronically, interact with physicians, and become “an equal member of the care team, providing them with care navigation tools.”

EHRs are headed in a more patient-centric direction, in a move toward supporting “teams of caregivers focused on value while treating patients as customers.”