The move to embrace EMR interoperability by healthcare entities has been rocky to say the least. There have been several hardships; reluctance of hospitals to share information with competitors, incompatible software from different vendors that made it difficult to communicate and huge expenses in retooling antiquated computers to name a few. But those hospitals that have walked the path such as the once recognized as Most Connected Hospitals 2015-16 by US News have reaped rich benefits. Some of these benefits include-
Improved Quality and Outcomes
Previously when a patient received healthcare services from several sources, tracking his history, including blood type, current medications, past procedures, allergies, and other related information was challenging. However with EMR interoperability multiple healthcare providers, regardless of location, can simultaneously access a patient’s record from any computer. They can access up-to-date information on the patient’s medical history, which includes current and previous test results along with the recommendations of other doctors. All this invariably will lead to a timely, efficient and collaborating model of healthcare, which delivers quality results.
Enhanced Patient Experience
Exchange of information between physicians has been greatly improved with EMR interoperability, allowing every concerned party full access to a patient’s medical history rather than a snapshot of the current visit. This access promotes a far more insightful evaluation, and enables doctors to reach an accurate diagnosis more quickly. Also since doctors no longer have to waste time on simply collecting data, they can focus all their energy on providing personalized care.
Close Care Gaps and Improve Overall Health
Interoperable patient information creates comprehensive, rich data which can be analyzed to pinpoint particular trends. For instance, clinical data collected as part of a population health program can used to identify patients who are likely to contract a life-threatening ailment or medical condition and effective counter measures can be taken to improve health of the at-risk patients as well as the overall population.
And then there are the usual benefits of digitizing healthcare records: There will be no penalties for violating Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. There will be reduced amount of time spent on retrieving and managing paperwork. There will be reduced amount of money spent medical transcription services. There will be no duplication of testing. And finally, there will be less reimbursement issues as your billing and coding practices will be more accurate.
From all this, it is pretty evident that the move to interoperable EMR is a must for healthcare practices. Hopefully they will put in the hard strides to get on board and reap the above mentioned benefits.