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What is the relationship between EHRs and care coordination?

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The primary care provider is usually not the only provider to see a patient. If the patient has a chronic or complex condition, especially, the primary care physician will coordinate with specialty providers, laboratories, healthcare facilities, and others, to ensure the patient is receiving comprehensive, appropriate, and quality care. With the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs), independent physicians are now able to take advantage of the use of EHR for coordinated care.

Coordination used to involve a lot of paperwork and waiting. Referral sheets were faxed back and forth between providers’ offices. In the meantime, duplication or omission of certain tests or medical data had serious potential to cause errors in the patient’s care. Using EHR for coordinated care is an efficient method to streamline the process and to ensure the patient is receiving appropriate and timely care.

The Office of Health Information Technology (IT), in partnership with the National Learning Consortium, lists a number of areas which “leveraging an EHR across the continuum of care allows for,” including:

  • Better integration among providers by improved information sharing,
  • Viewable and up-to-date medication and allergy lists,
  • Order entry at point of care or off-site,
  • Standardization of data, order sets, and care plans helping to implement common treatment of patients using evidence-based medicine,
  • Access to experts for rural health care providers by sharing best practices and allowing for specialized care through telemedicine,
  • Population management trended data and treatment and outcome studies,
  • More convenient, faster, and simpler disease management.

Elation Health offers independent physicians the ability to seamlessly access patient information before, during, and after the visit. Data input by specialty providers and labs is available with the touch of a button rather than through a series of phone calls and traditional faxes. Using EHR for care coordination ensures the patient’s medical information is accurate and current, and provides for higher quality outcomes.

How EHRs Can Improve Care Coordination

By increasing care coordination, electronic health record (EHR) systems can help to reduce care fragmentation. EHRs offer the ability to consolidate and organize patient health information and make it available to all authorized physicians participating in the patient’s treatment in real-time.