Maximizing the Potential of the Electronic Health Record

Potential of the Electronic Health RecordThe electronic health record (EHR) is designed to allow physicians to provide higher-quality, customized, cost-effective care to patients. Medical transcription service companies help providers manage their data entry tasks, allowing them to efficiently document narrative entries. But are physicians maximizing the potential that EHRs offer? Recent reports seem to indicate otherwise. There are several ways in which physicians can reap the many advantages the EHR offers.

  • Effective deployment in multi-specialty medical groups: According to a December 2016 Forbes report, effective deployment of digital patient records depends on using EHR in the “right context and culture”. The EHR is typically seen as a digitized version of a paper medical record. However, according to this report, the EHR has more potential in integrated, multi-specialty medical group and can help physicians from different specialties to manage care, exchange critical clinical information, and provide medical care quickly and safely. The article explains how physicians across multiple specialties in The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) used the EHR as a communication tool in the treatment of lung cancer to bring expertise into the medical decision-making process earlier. The EHR promoted real-time coordination, consultation and consensus, eliminating the possibility of confusion and medical error, and reducing treatment delays.
  • Improve EHR user interface: A recent Health Data Management report puts the spotlight on EHR vendors. The need of the hour, according to the report, is to develop a common user interface so that providers can move between systems easily. In addition to interoperability, the report recommends improving user interfaces, reducing clinicians’ data entry tasks, and redesign of EHRs to support future needs.
  • Ease physician data entry: A NIH-funded study by a New York-based medical informatics company recommends a method for fast EHR data capture. The study found that a dictation-based natural language processing (NLP) entry method for structured EHR data capture performed better in terms of efficiency, thoroughness, quality, and usability, as compared to standard data entry using keyboard and mouse.
  • Improve information exchange and sharing: Physicians need to be able to find crucial information on patients in the course of their workflow. Similarly, EHR design should support patient engagement by allowing them to access to their all medical information in one place – quickly and easily.

A recent Mayo-American Medical Association study found that electronic health records and computerized data entry are leading to lower satisfaction and high rates of stress among clinicians. Physicians reported that they did not believe that EHRs improved their efficiency or patient care. Medical transcription services can help with this. Experienced medical transcription companies play an important role in improving the integrity of the medical record and easing physicians’ data entry burden. They help providers ensure concise, history-rich notes that reflect the data gathered and which go into developing diagnoses, treatment plans, and follow-up care.