Electronic health records (EHRs) enable independent physicians to seamlessly and efficiently record visit notes, monitor their patients’ progress, and track outcomes for improved population health. EHR interoperability enables physicians, laboratories, and other healthcare providers to electronically communicate in real-time, reducing the potential for errors and increasing their ability to work together for positive patient outcomes.
A recently released National Academy of Medicine (NAM) special publication outlines the need for EHR interoperability between healthcare providers, stating that “several common causes of medical errors, including drug errors, diagnostic errors, and failure to prevent injury, can partially be addressed by better data exchange among patients, medical devices, EHRs, and other health technologies.”
While the majority of hospital and independent physicians’ practices do use EHRs, the lack of EHR interoperability between them means that “information from multiple sources, devices, and organizations across the care continuum are unable to flow at the right time, to the right party, and for the right patient,” according to the NAM report. The publication cites 2016 statistics which indicate that 96 percent of hospitals and 78 percent of physicians’ offices were using EHRs.
The key to EHR interoperability is in the selection of the EHR system itself for the independent physician’s practice. As the NAM publication indicates, “most health care providers spend time and money setting up each technology in a different way, instead of being able to rely on a consistent means of connectivity.”
Victor J. Dzau, NAM’s president says, “To ensure that health care dollars are spent in pursuit of health care delivery systems reaching desired levels of care quality, safety, and efficiency, interoperability must be a top priority.”
Solutions such as Elation Health’s Collaborative Health Record enable the independent physician to automatically share updates directly from their Clinical EHR. Other providers are immediately notified so they can take action based on the most up-to-date clinical information. Collaborating with other providers is done with the click of a button, so the independent physician always has the most current and accurate patient information.