The digital boom has impacted the healthcare industry in different ways. Long gone are those days of bulky folders to manage, store, and retrieve patient information. One of the most remarkable reforms in the healthcare industry is the transition from a document-based storage system to EHR. Studies have shown the potential benefits of EHR adoption, such as improvement in overall patient experience and improvement in the clinical care process.
However, EHR comes with its own challenges. Let’s take a quick look at them.
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Challenges with EHR in Healthcare
The implementation of EHR in the healthcare industry is not as easy as it sounds. Data migration is a nightmare for the staff to export all paper-based documents to digital records. There are large chunks of documents about the medical history of several patients. So, data entry might become
a time-consuming tedious process. This is a major challenge for the healthcare industry.
More and more information gets stored in EHR as they are shared with multiple facilities. The demand from patients to have complete access to their healthcare records has given rise to more personal use of EHR. EHR is now integrated with PHR (Personal Health Record) and is used by large healthcare providers as well as vendors. EHR now also covers family health history to assess early health risks and offer inherited patient care insights.
With such an increase in data volume, EHR tends to get unruly when loaded with huge information. This is a major challenge with EHR in healthcare.
With challenges like high implementation costs ranging from $15,000 to $70,000, staff reluctance to accept EHR implementation, data migration, and lack of proper planning, it’s not easy to implement EHR in healthcare.
Role of EHR in Operations
The use of EHR is increasing with time. These days patients and healthcare providers want to get access to patient records. EHRs facilitate the entry of clinical notes, which can meet the management and evaluation document
standards. It has replaced a paper-based patient chart with an electronic patient chart.
An EHR stores various information including referral letters, diagnostic reports, images, and lab results. With this, it is also easier to keep track of patient issues and messages for a scheduled surgery or planned treatment. Doctors and staff might require it to address patient issues immediately.
Where is EHR in Today’s Healthcare Operations?
The EHR implementation rate has increased in recent years. Consequently, administrators and health IT experts have come up with strategic solutions for solving common problems that are faced by the providers in the implementation of EHR.
Today, EHR is beyond regular software management. With revenue management tools and helpful practice, it is turning into a clinic management system. It exists to support the workflow of an already existing clinic. EHR is the connectivity between all members of the patient care environment. With this, the healthcare industry can be data-driven.
The Federal government in Obama’s tenure granted billions of dollars for EHR adoption. While 86% of physician clinics and 96% of hospitals adopted the EHR system, we still don’t see proper EHRs managing the challenges hospitals and clinics face in day-to-day patient care. Healthcare providers still experience frustration at different levels: Usability and interface issues, entered data quality, limited ability for supporting interoperability between systems, to name a few.
However, some organizations have only undertaken bare minimum upgrades. This is due to insufficient resources and financial barriers in rural areas for adopting EHR. At times, it is also because the team is unaware of the newly added features. A study in 2011 shows that less than 5% of the anesthesia departments were using EMR which is anesthesia specific, missing data in EHR reported by pediatricians, and basic patient care remained unsupported frequently. These studies show that EHR is still not properly done in an organized manner.
Many healthcare providers have already completed EHR implementation. But due to high complexity, it takes time from the initial phase to stabilize the system that has gone through an update.
EHR is Crucial for Success of Operations
EHR is crucial for the healthcare industry. Not only do they offer better care to patients but also automate various tasks for practice. Here are a few reasons why EHR is important for the healthcare industry.
1. Better Quality Care
With EHR, it is possible to offer better quality care to patients. It enables quick access to patient records leading to efficient care. EHR also helps in treatment effectiveness while increasing operational efficiency. With EMR use reported at 75% in the 2014 National Physician Survey, 65% of doctors stated that it has positively improved patient care.
For the care provider, EHR will offer healthcare analytics that helps in recognizing patterns, predicting diagnosis, and suggesting prospective treatment options. Again for the patients, they give access to patient portals that give them access to their medical information. The patient, as well as the physician, can use it to track the treatment progress.
2. Accurate Patient Information and Better Decisions
It has been introduced as an alternative to paper medical records. This makes it easier to store and access patient information. Since records are stored electronically, it eliminates the risk of theft, damage, or misplacement. Errors or mistakes caused because of handwriting can be eliminated with digital records.
With improved quality, EHR helps to handle chronic disease management, screening targets, and diagnosis at early stages.
3. Increased Efficiency
EHR lets healthcare providers offer accurate diagnosis and treatment. However, it also saves time. They speed up office visits and appointments. Thus, healthcare providers can see more patients daily.
4. Increases Revenue
Like every business, healthcare, too, plans to maximize its business. EHR offers payment and billing tools for managing income and ensuring payment. The feature helps speed up reimbursement without losing or delaying claims. The software lets physicians document a patient’s visit. This makes it easier to offer evidence about claims made by individuals.
Challenges of Implementing EHR in Operations
There are various potential challenges in implementing a digital health record system. Here is a list of hurdles that providers need to be aware of.
1. Cost of Implementation: No doubt, EHR implementation is an expensive affair. Selecting, implementing, and optimizing EHR takes away a big portion of the planned capital budget investment. Apart from the large planned expenses, there can also be unplanned expenses.
2. Training is Time-Consuming: Before you deploy the EHR system, the staff has to be given proper training about the workflow. The medical team and physicians have to spend extra time and effort to understand the new system. Hence, it will be a hassle for the management, as well as the staff. Mid-size or small organizations fear the loss of busing during their training phase. At times, staff members take it to be an unnecessary effort.
3. Staff Resistance: Not everyone in the healthcare industry will be open to this technological implementation. Moreover, some are doubtful about its efficacy. Thus, they might be reluctant to give up the documentation process. Sometimes, the staff lack awareness about the technological innovations and their benefits. This might lead to delayed implementation of electronic health records.
4. Data Privacy: Another EHR implementation challenge concerns about data privacy of both the provider and the patient. The stakeholders are often concerned about the risk of a data leakage caused by a cyber-attack or a data leakage. As per federal rule, healthcare providers need to keep personal health data confidential. In case there is a security breach, the provider might have to get into a legal hassle.
For a healthcare organization, implementing EHR on its own isn’t something easy. A good user-certified electronic health record is a norm in today’s healthcare landscape. They are a step closer to ascertaining proper healthcare.
Nevertheless, there are barriers to the successful deployment of EHR. It can only be alleviated with strategic execution and proper planning. Looking for a team to do EHR implementation for your healthcare organization? Look no further as RESOLVE helps to improve healthcare and business outcomes in real-time with the right expertise and tools.
Improved healthcare delivery, better clinical outcomes, and lower costs are just a step away from proper EHR implementation. Talk to the RESOLVE experts today and learn more about what RESOLVE can do for you.