Inadequate interoperability has been a consistent source of concern for physicians. Instead of leaving the solution to industry regulators and health IT developers, clinicians need to take the lead and promote more initiatives to ensure that EHRs function in a way that helps them improve patient care.
How Physicians Can Take the Initiative for Better Interoperability
Clinicians need to see the importance of running with the original vision for interoperability. This vision was established to create a healthcare system that’s supported by interoperable data that enables doctors and other clinical staff to share healthcare information and improve patient outcomes. Physicians need to be involved in the development and deployment of solutions that can achieve the vision of full EHR interoperability.
One of the best ways for physicians to participate in promoting interoperability is for medical societies and associations to build health information exchanges or be active in the growth and development of existing exchanges.
When an exchange is owned by doctors and hospital leaders, it will be governed and run by those who send data into the exchange. This is a vital concept. Clinicians create most of the health data, so they should also be involved in making decisions on how to securely store and transfer it from one provider to another.
- Partnership: When owners and managers of health information exchanges partner with physicians, the network can connect more hospitals and practices through their EHRs.
- Shared vision: Every physician and hospital needs to have a vision of an information exchange, an interoperable network that provides secure data transfer that physicians can use to improve patient care.
What Clinicians Can Do to Improve EHRs
Thousands of healthcare provider organizations and medical practices across the country have invested in EHRs, but there’s a lot of room to improve the connectivity between these systems. One of the keys to fast track the process is to allow physicians to lead the process from the beginning.
This will encourage them to drive change from their practices and hospitals. An effective way to do this is to develop an open technology platform that has well-defined standards. This may be used by health IT companies like HEF Solutions to create apps that run seamlessly and securely within the healthcare system.
This type of app platform can provide the functionality needed to:
- take care of the needs of medical specialties
- address the health needs of different demographics
- perform data visualization
- allow patients to gain access to physician notes
These apps can be used by clinicians and other end-users in the hospitals to improve efficiency and productivity, promote more effective diagnosis, plan treatments and monitor patient progress.
The Need for Periodic EHR Reviews
Physicians who meet regularly in their community, state or national associations should constantly proffer solutions that help overcome challenges encountered while using EHRs including:
- communication and care coordination
- handling insurance claims
- prescription ordering and management
Improving interoperability helps make treatment more accessible to patients in emergency situations, when they need to see a specialist or when they relocate. The initiative for improving interoperability should be taken by physicians who produce and use most of the data in the EHRs.