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Using EHRs to improve population health management

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Reviewing the data on a group of diabetic patients to assess how quickly they have been able to stabilize their sugar levels since being treated by the independent physician, to determine an optimal plan for that patient population going forward, is one way the information in an electronic health record (EHR) can improve population health management.

Douglas B. Fridsma, MD, PhD, FACP, FACMI, president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), a professional association dedicated to the development and application of biomedical and health informatics, notes that “Increasingly, as we get more and more information that’s available in electronic health records, that [EHR] becomes a source of how to best take care of the patients in your practice.”

Effective population health management, of course, begins with the input of appropriate patient data during the patient visit. Patients that are seen by multiple providers will also have medical records from other physicians, labs, and healthcare facilities that will need to be coordinated within the EHR system, so the primary care physician can have access to the full medical profiles of all the practice’s patients.

Furthermore, the office of Health Information Technology (IT) states that “by efficiently collecting data in a form that can be shared across multiple health care organizations and leveraged for quality improvement and prevention activities, EHRs can:

  • Improve public health reporting and surveillance.
  • Better the practice’s ability to prevent disease.
  • Expand communication between health care providers and public health officials.

By using the data from specific populations served by the independent physician’s practice, a more meaningful plan for preventative care, including immunization schedules, as well as more appropriate and relevant diagnostic and treatment plans, can be implemented. Elation Health’s EHR solution enables providers to easily find information that supports their decisions with a comprehensive search that will trend relevant data like a patient’s vitals or cholesterol levels, anytime the physician needs it.

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