An EMR (electronic medical record) is a digital in-house version of a patient’s chart that contains medical and treatment history. In other words, it is a solution to recording clinical information that does not involve the use of paper and a file storage mechanism.
The benefits of EMR are immense, such that they hold the potential to revolutionize healthcare provision and its delivery to patients.
Not only does an EMR allow providers the ability to chart and store a patient’s information quickly, it also gives them access to the same information whenever and wherever required. The usage of cloud computing implies that EMR allows real-time access to records, both for the provider and the patient.
This will eventually lead to scheduling more patients by decreasing the average time spent on a single patient, thereby enhancing a practice’s workflow. Another important advantage of digitizing records is minimization of filing errors that manual record keeping is prone to. All of this directly implies better patient care through availability of all requisite information at a single platform, with constant updates being made as time progresses.
For healthcare providers, EMR usage also results in directly reducing costs by eliminating administrative and other practice-related expenditures.
The biggest advantage of cloud EMR however, is systemic and industry-related. As more and more practitioners make the transition to EMR and as vendors upgrade their products to encompass better usability and interoperability tools, healthcare provision will enter a whole new dimension due to creation of a data pool. This will increase patient care manifold and allow providers to come up with accurate diagnoses, minimizing the possibility of errors on their part.
However, interface usability stands as a major hurdle in materializing the goal of a completely digitized healthcare system. According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, “usability is one of the major factors — possibly the most important factor — hindering widespread adoption of EMRs.”
In order to realize the dream of an all encompassing healthcare system, vendors and policy makers need to work on creating EMRs that remove all problems in implementation faced by practitioners by focusing on improved usability.
Usability is a big issue in software generally, but more so in a field were people are busy, overworked and already have a system that kind of works for them, although it has its associated problems.
Another problem we face is interoperability. At TheraNest, we develop software for mental and human services. It's used by therapists, counselors, social workers, etc. Our lives would be a lot easier in terms of delivering value for our clients in their was more interoperability in the medical area generally. There is a lot of turf protection.
Luckily for us, we are not entangled by legacy technology issues. We've been able to build a cloud based software that can respond to users needs quickly, is fast and has the feel of a desktop to it. We don't dread client feedback because of this, we welcome it and we think that's good for the whole industry.
I am so glad that you mentioned Usability.
“Satisfaction and usability ratings for certified electronic health records (EHRs) have decreased since 2010 among clinicians across a range of indicators.” This announcement was made at the 2013 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference & Exhibition by Michael S. Barr, MD, MBA, FACP. His presentation highlighted “ the need for the Meaningful Use program and EHR manufacturers to focus on improving EHR features and usability.”
We are on a mission to improve the usability and therefore patient safety of EHR.
For more please visit our blog site www.HealthcareUsability.com