Three high tech features to look for in your next EHR

Cutting-edge EHR technology does not always translate into quality results. Rather it’s the technology’s effectiveness that ultimately carries the day and innovative does not always mean the most effective. When examining the range of high tech features found in EHRs on the market today, some feature stands out, offering an optimal blend of innovative technology and effectiveness in improving the delivery of health care services.

Practices should think regarding their individual practice needs and strategic practice goals when selecting new EHR features.

1. Automatic extraction and analysis of quality data

Clinical quality measures factor heavily in the future of healthcare as payors shift toward value-based reimbursement formulas. Tracking clinical quality measures rely on the ability to track and analyze quality-related data including health outcomes, clinical processes, patient safety, efficient use of health care resources, care coordination, patient engagements, population and public health and adherence to clinical guidelines.

This guide to 40 key features to look for in your EHR will help nail down your requirements for your next software purchase

The time physician practices spend tracking and reporting quality measures to Medicare and private health insurers amounts to about $15.4 billion annually, according to a study published in Health Affairs, which found primary care practices spent nearly $50,500 annually tracking and reporting quality measures. This time can be reduced by implementing an automatic collection, extraction and analysis features in an EHR which analyzes and reports quality data.

2. Patient/consumer experience

The consumer experience side of health care is often treated as secondary to the focus on more pressing care delivery issues. However, practices often fail to recognize that enhanced consumer experience is not simply a question of practice management, it is also a mechanism to enhance care delivery.  One particularly useful EHR feature in this respect is a messaging platform that can centralize all patient-related communication into one place. Through a centralized messaging system, patients, and other medical professionals can communicate and coordinate care on one platform.  

3. Population health and engagement

As insurance plans, providers and insurance companies begin to nudge consumers toward taking preventive health measure and with the revamping of reimbursement schemes toward value-based models, the importance of population health features in an EHR is imperative. Population health features can take on many functions, which can include structuring data in a manner that can be easily shared across care settings and anonymized and shared with stakeholders such as public health agencies. Further, population health management functions can be employed to engage patients regarding preventative health issues or flag the records so that providers may take proactive action to assist a patient adhere to a care plan or seek preventative care.

As stated, one should not always view effectiveness through the lens of what is the most innovative, rather practices should consider features whose functionality assists practices deliver care to the best of their ability in the most efficient manner.

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Jeff Green

About the author…

Jeff Green, MPH, JD works as a freelance writer and consultant in the Healthcare information Technology Space.

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Jeff Green

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