Currently, patient medical records are like individual links in a chain. Every doctor, hospital, lab or clinic holds a single link in a patient’s chain of records. The problem with this model is that doctors only see their own contributions in their electronic medical record system, but not the overall big picture of care a patient has received. Understanding the need to improve the continuity of patient care, health information exchange (HIE) is becoming the next evolutionary stage of EMR, combining the fragments of information into a single record.
The EHR solution allows every physician to see a patient’s entire health record. According to our Sales Director, Ian Daniels, there are multiple platforms in a patient record: labs, radiology, hospital and practice, etc. “Each has a component of medical record, and we want to tie them all together into one record,” says Daniels. “That’s kind of the holy grail of what everybody’s trying to get to,” he explains, regarding doctors’ ability to see a patient’s whole record from their computer or tablet.
A continuous EMR through HIE creates a win/win outcome for both doctors and patients. With a patient’s whole medical history at their fingertips, the individual doctor will no longer exist in a vacuum, but rather in a community. With a full history, doctors have more relevant clinical data in front of them to make more educated decisions. With health data exchange, patients receive a higher quality of healthcare; the doctor can now see every X-ray, lab result, diagnosis and treatment the patient has received to take into account when continuing the flow of care. Daniels points out that the payer benefits from HIE as well: the fewer duplicate testing ordered, the fewer bills insurance and patients receive.
As the next phase in EMR technology, EMRs should be able to interface with HIE, says Daniels. There are already a handful of HIE vendors on the market. “We’re in that first stage of that right now – when is it going to be where every practice is going to be involved? Maybe never,” he says. However, he points out that the majority of practices should be participating in 4 to 5 years. Aimed to stay on the cutting edge, Bizmatics’ PrognoCIS fully intends to keep pace with the new trend in health information technology: “We recognize that it’s the next step and that’s the direction we’re taking.”