The growing implementation of electronic health records (EHR) is providing healthcare institutions with the data necessary to better track and measure clinical quality outcomes and patient safety. However, although 76% of institutions are using EHR, only 44% say the systems benefit patient safety and improve patient outcomes. (Source: Clinical Quality: Data is Key to Survival)
Widespread use of electronic health records (and related computerized physician order entry systems) provides a data foundation to be tapped to prevent errors and support clinical decisions. While these systems certainly provide loads of potential data which can help improve patient safety and outcomes, a critical next step that organizations should move to after implementing the technology is analytics.
Information about patients is available more readily, to a wider set of caregivers, and is more up to date than paper charting. Although not all are comfortable replacing the written order, and while interoperability remains a hurdle, the medical profession’s long-standing reliance on using data to document medical advances and the new requirement to report data should lead to performance improvements.
76% of organizations say they are using an EHR but only 28% of those organizations that have implemented an EHR system report having at least a basic level of analytics. Over 48% of organizations that have implemented an EHR are more than a year away from implementing any form of analytics. (Source: Health Leader’s Report – Clinical Quality: Data is Key to Survival). This will be a key aspect in improving quality outcomes and patient safety.
The current issue surrounds how the data is leveraged to improve patient- and treatment-related metrics, such as patient flow, wait times and referrals. While there is no question there is a much more accurate and larger data set for the potential improvement of factors such as patient flow, many EHR systems and health jurisdictions just don’t have a way to quickly interpret patient flow trends such as managing Acute ALC, ED Access, Programming Gaps and Balanced Scorecard KPI’s become critical within today’s stressed healthcare systems.
Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchange (HIE) have redefined how healthcare providers using disparate health information solutions coordinate and collaborate with patient care teams. But the question that arises is how effectively they have achieved this. While these advances have allowed for tighter integration, there has also been varying degrees of improved patient flow.
Without a dashboard to quickly interpret patient flow trends, such as managing Acute ALC, ED Access, Programming Gaps and Balanced Scorecard KPI’s, health jurisdictions are operating blindly. It is one thing to have the data, it’s another to use the data for performance improvement. The rate at which organizations can move beyond EHR to roll out analytics that support clinical decision making will be key in determining how quickly they go from drowning in data to improved quality outcomes and patient safety.
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