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Reimagined EHR knowledge hub

Realize the benefits of a reimagined EHR and how it can help you improve efficiency and care.

Promising EHR Improvements

Despite frustration with the slow pace of EHR improvements, some EHR best practices can improve communication, cut costs, and prevent medical errors.

Communication and delegation

Data collected by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) from 2007 to 2013 indicated that 58% of physicians said their EHR helped them directly communicate with other providers that are part of the patient’s care team.1

In another study, EHRs facilitated teamwork, communication and better delegation of work among primary care teams. The EHR allowed non-clinical staff to handle tasks so that physicians could focus on more complex aspects of care. However, it is important to note that this was only the case when the EHR implementation included revising clinical workflows.2

Cost Savings

Based on the size of a health system and the scope of their implementation, well-designed and correctly implemented EHRs in large hospitals can range from $37M to $59M over a five-year period.3 Using data gathered in 2009 from 550 different hospitals, another study concluded that patients treated in hospitals with advanced EHRs cost, on average, about 10% less than patients admitted to hospitals without EHRs.4

Efficiency

Several studies link EHRs to better provider efficiency. According to one national survey,5 79% of providers said their practice functioned more efficiently with an EHR, and 82% reported that sending prescriptions electronically (e-prescribing) saved time.

Prevent medical errors

The EHR hasn’t been entirely bad for physicians and patients. In one study, 70% of physicians surveyed by the ONC6 said that lab and medication reminders or alerts had helped them prevent potential patient harm and 45% reported a specific EHR feature that had alerted them to a possible medication error.

Despite the promising outcomes in these studies, however, a major consensus in the literature is that EHRs are poorly designed for clinical purposes. EHR improvements should focus on better meeting the long-term needs of providers—and their patients.

1 ONC. (2014, September 19). HIT Safety: Progress Made and Challenges Ahead [Fact sheet]. Available at  http://healthit.gov/sites/default/files/ONC_HIT_SafetyHealthITWeekWebinar_2014_09_12.pdf.

2 O'Malley, A. S., Draper, K., Gourevitch, R., Cross, D. A., & Scholle, S. H. (2015). Electronic health records and support for primary care teamwork. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 22(2), 426-434. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocu029.

3 Bell, B, Thornton, K. (2011). From promise to reality achieving the value of an EHR. Healthcare Financial Management, 65(2),51-56.

4 Swanson Kazley, A., Simpson, A. N., Simpson, K. N., & Teufel, R. (2014). Association of Electronic Health Records With Cost Savings in a National Sample. The American Journal of Managed Care, 20(6), 183-190. 

5 Jamoom, E., Patel, V., King, J., & Furukawa, M. (2012, August). National perceptions of EHR adoption: Barriers, impacts, and federal policies. National conference on health statistics.

6 ONC. (2014, September 19). HIT Safety: Progress Made and Challenges Ahead [Fact sheet]. Available at: http://healthit.gov/sites/default/files/ONC_HIT_SafetyHealthITWeekWebinar_2014_09_12.pdf.

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