Electronic health records, or EHR for short, bring with them a wide range of benefits that would have been unthinkable even as recently as 20 years ago. By acting as a single source of “truth” for patient information, they make it easier for multiple medical providers to collaborate on the same case. They’re fully digital, so they’re far more efficient than paper-based records. They’re more accurate and they help increase revenue. The list goes on and on.
But for as impressive as electronic health records already are, keep in mind that they’re still continuing to evolve all the time as the surrounding technology does the same. In fact, there are a number of ways in which EHR solutions will continue to improve in 2024 that are certainly worth a closer look.
About the EHR Global Market
According to one recent study, the global EHR market was valued at an impressive $29.395 billion in 2021. That number is expected to grow to an enormous $47.6 billion by as soon as 2030, representing an annual growth rate of 5.5% during that time. So not only is EHR software already extremely popular among both medical professionals and their patients – it’s only going to get more so as time goes on.
Top EHR Technology Innovations
While the earliest electronic health record software solutions were essentially just virtual databases for patient information, things have changed for the better in recent years. Leading EHR software companies and solutions like PrognoCIS (to name one example) have expanded their scope to also include not only practice management functionality, but also patient engagement, e-faxing, e-prescribing, and more.
The benefit of this is that when all insight and information is flowing through the same source within a practice, it leads to higher levels of patient engagement and better outcomes, too. It puts medical providers in a position to more easily customize their workflows. It lets them take a “bird’s eye view” level of visibility over things like pain management. It also lets organizations shift to a position of value-based care, often for the first time, leading to better patient outcomes along the way.
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The Challenges Facing EHRs
According to experts with the National Library of Medicine, one of the major challenges facing EHR has to do with the adoption process itself. It’s a major financial investment to transition from manual, paper-based records and processes to a digital system, particularly for smaller organizations.
Those small practices often experience short-term financial issues like implementation costs, the costs associated with ongoing maintenance of the EHR solution, a loss of revenue associated with the temporary loss of productivity during implementation, and more. One study projected that the total cost for a 280-bed acute care hospital going through a 7-year EHR installation was $19 million when all these factors were considered.
Likewise, the risk of potential security and privacy-related challenges is always present. All providers need to take adequate measures to protect patient information, both in-transit and at-rest. Yes, it’s true that paper-based records can be lost, stolen, or misused. But the possible attack surface for digital healthcare records is significant, which is why EHRs need to comply with the strict laws and regulations designed to maintain patient privacy as much as possible.
Current Trends and the Future of EHR
One of the biggest ways in which electronic health records will continue to improve in 2024 and beyond has to do with the increased implementation of artificial intelligence. There are already EHR software providers out there who are making the most of the efficiency gains that AI-driven analytics can offer, allowing it to unlock a more personalized level of care for patients and better decision-making for organizational leaders.
AI algorithms, once properly trained, can ingest patient data and identify trends in their health far sooner than most humans could. They can spot whenever a patient’s health deviates from the accepted definition of “normal,” spotting possible health issues so that doctors can intervene as early as possible. This helps lead to better healthcare outcomes, which in and of itself is the most important benefit of all.
Similarly, data analytics represent another major way that electronic health records will continue to become more valuable as time goes on. Think about the sheer volume of data that is being stored electronically by your average patient. In addition to all the information inputted into a system by a doctor or medical provider, you also have the information being collected by wearable devices like smartwatches.
Data analytics can further be used to extract valuable insights from all that information, wading through it at a rate (and with an efficiency) that humans simply cannot match. This can lead to better, more evidence-based treatment recommendations. It can also help generate notifications for medical providers when certain risk factors are present in a patient.
Finally, consider the fact that digital-driven solutions like electronic health records aren’t supposed to “replace” human beings like doctors or other medical professionals. Instead, they’re supposed to support and empower them – letting them do better and more effective work with fewer resources. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that another one of the ways that EHRs will continue to improve over the next few years has to do with the increased prominence of virtual assistants.
In some ways, the concept of a virtual assistant is nothing new. Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are already a ubiquitous part of the lives of many people. But virtual assistants in an EHR context can help medical providers with essential (but time-consuming) tasks like documentation, for example. Rather than forcing a care provider to play “catch up” at the end of the day, a virtual assistant can handle all this throughout the work day in a far more efficient and accurate way. This can help save as much of that doctor’s time as possible so that they can focus their attention on matters that truly need them.
- The global EHR market is expected to reach an enormous $47.6 billion in value by as soon as the end of the decade.
- While EHR adoption is increasing, there are still challenges – like the cost of implementation and potential security concerns – for smaller organizations in particular.
- Artificial intelligence is one of the most important ways that EHR will continue to improve in 2024.
- Data analytics and the use of virtual assistants are additional innovations that will help EHR continue its ascent.
If you’d like to find out more information about the major ways in which electronic health records will continue to improve in 2024 and beyond, or if you have any additional questions about what EHR software can do for your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact Bizmatics, Inc. today.