An electronic medical record stores standard medical and clinical data gathered in a medical practice. An electronic health record goes beyond localized data collection to include more comprehensive patient histories.
A wider range of patient data is provided by EHRs because they are designed to store and share information from all providers involved in a patient’s care. Health care centers are using EHRs to create and manage a patient’s data, recorded by authorized providers and staff from multiple health care organizations. When your organization utilizes an EHR, you’re joining a growing network of hospitals and physicians who are also using EHRs.
Health Care Centers are Using EHRs
According to a 2015 report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, which tracks EHR adoption:1
- 96 percent of all hospitals have adopted certified EHRs
- 84 percent of all hospitals have adopted basic EHRs
- 87 percent of all U.S. physicians have adopted any, basic and certified EHRs
- 78 percent of all U.S. physicians have adopted certified EHRs
EHRs are also useful when private practice physicians want to quickly and accurately share patient information with ambulatory providers or hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the following 2014 trends:2
- About one-third of office-based physicians used a certified EHR system to share patient data with outside ambulatory providers or with unaffiliated hospitals.
- More than one-third of physicians electronically shared patient data with any ambulatory providers or hospitals.
Improved Comprehensive Care
The collection of data at the point of care and inclusion into patients’ EHRs helps health care providers identify and treat risks.3 Primary care physicians, who see patients most often, can identify when patients need to see a specialist. Once a patient is referred to a specialist, the primary care physician will note the consult into the patient’s EHR. If the specialist is also using EHRs, the results of the consultation will be available to the primary care physician. The flow of data between primary care physicians and the specialists helps deliver more comprehensive care, leading to better patient outcomes.
Prescription Drug Oversight
E-prescribing is a simple tool for managing medications that eliminates the need for paper prescriptions, and it has additional benefits. When medications such as opioids need to be prescribed for patients by a medical or behavioral health care professional, the ability to e-prescribe via an EHR helps reduce the potential for prescription drug abuse. More than eight in 10 physicians stated their EHRs allowed them to utilize electronic prescription entry to track patients’ medications, as well as their allergies and medical problems.4
Community Vital Signs
Pilot projects are being developed across the U.S. to build social determinant data into EHRs. Since the local area where patients live is a large determiner of risks and triggers, incorporating social and environmental data can help health care organizations with the early identification of these risks, as well as to manage where their resources should be focused.
Moving into the Future
As whole-person care becomes increasingly important in the health care delivery system, adopting EHRs can give your practice or health center the edge it needs to be more efficient, competitive and profitable. Health care centers are using EHRs across the country, improving quality of care and providing better patient outcomes.