Quality Medical Transcription Services

How Healthcare Organizations can Better Manage EHR Data Growth

EHR

Electronic heath records (EHRs) are a treasure trove of patient information. EHRs enable healthcare providers to record and store patient information electronically, simplifying the process of creating medical records. This system allows organizations to consolidate, centralize, and securely access patient medical data. Medical transcription companies play a key role in ensuring that data is entered accurately in these electronic filing cabinets. EHRs are aimed at improving care, efficiency and interoperability, but just having more EHR data will not provide better results. A proper data management strategy is essential for EHRs to serve their purpose. Healthcare data management is defined as “the process of storing, protecting, and analyzing data pulled from diverse sources. Managing the wealth of available healthcare data allows health systems to create holistic views of patients, personalize treatments, improve communication, and enhance health outcomes (www.evariant.com).

If managed efficiently, EHR data can provide meaningful insights and help physicians make informed decisions to streamline operations, enhance patient care, and attain better outcomes. A Becker’s Hospital Review article recommended the following four strategies to better manage EHR data growth:

  • Creating a data governance strategy
  • Collecting quality information
  • Moving data to a centralized repository, and
  • Investing in healthcare CRM
  • Creating a data governance strategy: Health data comprises patients’ personal and health information as well as financial data. A proper data governance strategy is essential to help manage and interpret EHR data and get value from it. AHIMA defines data governance in healthcare as “an organization-wide framework for managing health information throughout its lifecycle-from the moment a patient’s information is first entered in the system until well after they are discharged”. The lifecycle covers aspects like treatment, payment, research, outcomes improvement, and disease reporting and tracking by government agencies such as the CDC. To develop a good data governance strategy, healthcare providers must determine the what kind of data they need and how to access it, what problems the data can be used to address, and the outcomes that the data can provide.
  • Collecting quality information: Physicians deal with an avalanche of EHR data on a daily basis, but this information would be useful only if is accurate. Ensuring accuracy during medical record documentation is crucial for patient safety, provision of appropriate care, and care planning. However, physicians are not cut out for EHR data entry tasks, especially in the office setting, where their main focus is the patient. Even a minor data entry error can lead to a wrong decision and compromise care. To avoid this, healthcare facilities can train their staff in EHR data entry. A more cost-effective option would be to outsource the documentation task to a US based medical transcription service organization. The Becker’s Hospital Review report also recommends applying algorithms to verify data for accuracy and eliminate mistakes such as duplicate information or discrepancies in procedural and billing codes.
  • Moving data to a centralized repository: Data fragmentation is the primary problem that needs to be addressed in healthcare organizations. Data available in EHRs include patient identifiers, demographics, diagnoses, medications, procedures, laboratory results, vital signs, and utilization events as well as financial records, and pay or information. Bringing all this data together, converting it to a usable format and putting it a centralized location is critical to improving EHR data management. Investing in health IT can make fragmented electronic data usable and quickly retrievable.
  • Investing in healthcare CRM (customer relationship management): Healthcare CRMs integrate data from various sources (such as consumer and patient demographics, psychographics, social, behavioral, clinical, financial, website, call center, provider credentialing, etc.) to provide a comprehensive view of patient habits and activities. While most EHRs are designed to consolidate, centralize, and provide secure access to patient data, investing in technology solutions can help interpret and report on EHR data from various sources including social media and mHealth. This can help healthcare providers extract valuable insights from the date to improve patient care and communications.

These tips can help overcome the challenges of managing growing EHR data, but implementing a data management plan requires having a skilled team of HIM professionals and EHR optimization experts on board. Partnering with a reliable medical transcription company can ensure accurate, consistent and relevant data in the EHR.

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