EHR as a Vital Tool for Clinical Decision Making

EHREHR-integrated medical transcription solutions can help hospitals and physician clinics adapt better to the controversial electronic health records. As things stand, doctors all over the nation have reported trouble adapting to EHR/EMRs. Some help could go a long way in facilitating better adaptation to these state-of-the-art technologies. EHR support helps physicians in the transition from dictation platforms to the electronic health record.

Looking at EHR from a Different Perspective

Ever since EHR systems were introduced into healthcare, doctors have been complaining about their complexity. The software has been portrayed as something which detracts the attention of physicians from patients to the desktop particularly during consultations, thus affecting healthcare. While that may be true with physicians having trouble adjusting to EMR data entry, the electronic health record can actually contribute to improving healthcare. It can help ensure efficient decision making.

EHR for Detection of Warning Signs in Patients

Ophthalmology Times reports that such a development was initiated at the University of California, Davis (UCD). The UCD developed an expert system for alerting physicians to the manifestation of the early warning signs of sepsis developing in critical care patients. As you know, sepsis is a life-threatening condition and requires early detection to improve the prognosis. This development helps in that.

This works when the patient’s vital signs are constantly monitored and entered into the EMR. An algorithm, developed after validation in various critical care patients, processes the data and identifies a set of vital signs consistent with the arrival of early sepsis. The EHR then transmits an urgent email to the concerned head nurse for carrying out the necessary procedures and informing the treating physician. This system is believed to have contributed to the reduction of sepsis mortality rates in the institution from 47% to 21% in a period of 3 years. It is estimated that over 200 patients were saved by this system.

Helping in Clinical Decision Making

This system can be implemented for various conditions and diseases. In ophthalmology, a risk calculator could be integrated into the electronic health record to provide better care for glaucoma patients. Ophthalmology Times also reports the development of a system whereby, on examination of a patient having ocular hypertension, the individual’s age, central corneal thickness, IOP, optic disc parameters, parametric testing results, etc., can be extracted and entered into the risk calculator. This information would enable the physician to decide the treatment or observation course of action.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s School of Engineering have been developing such an algorithm to incorporate into the EHR at the Wilmer Institute. The algorithm makes use of data from multi-center clinical trials that can integrate past results from tests and IOP measurements as well as socio-demographic characteristics of the patient to come upon a personalized forecast of the patient’s probability of glaucoma progression and the identification of the right time for carrying out further diagnostic testing.

Breaking the Barrier of EHR Negativity

These innovations are indications of the immense potential of the EHR not merely as a storehouse of clinical data but as a tool for processing data that can help in decision-making for physicians and patients. This can help improve healthcare significantly through a more scientific and empirical approach to decision making. However, this could happen only if physicians get more familiar with the EMR and consider them useful for more than just documenting patient visits. Electronic health records make locating information in a chart easier and also facilitate easier communication with the other healthcare providers.

The potential is massive, but a more ready adoption of the EHR is essential. Physicians and practices must develop procedures to use electronic health records in a more efficient manner. EHR-integrated medical transcription solutions could be one of the ways to do this.