In an article published last Friday in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the AMIA discussed issues and improvements regarding electronic health records. While EHRs have proven quite beneficial in clinical settings, there is still much progress to be made before their full potential is realized. In order to further develop the systems, they have approved an EHR Task Force, which has identified five areas in which EHRs can be improved and ten recommendations on how to do so.

  • Simplify and Speed Documentation
    • Limiting the amount of data entry providers must do will relieve some of their burden
    • Allow patients to complete some data entry can help separate entry from data reporting
    • Enable systematic learning and research at the point of care
  • Refocus Regulation
    • Certification procedures and MU regulations should be clarified; data exchange and interoperability should be improved; we should reduce the need for re-entering data; patient outcomes need to be prioritized
    • Changing reimbursement rules should be supportive of new ideas and changes in EHRs
  • Increase Transparency and Streamline Certification
    • EHR certification criteria need to be made transparent for better usability and safety.
    • Vendors and providers both should be transparent with one another about potential risks and how they can be minimized.
  • Foster Innovation
    • EHR vendors should public standards that will encourage and support innovation
  • The EHR in 2020 Must Support Person-Centered Care Delivery
    • For optimal use EHRs should be integrated into all health care, past just clinical care.
    • It is important to develop an interface that is natural for users to work with

As we continue to tinker with the capabilities of EHRs, we should keep in mind the goals of interoperability, safety, and efficiency. Adhering to these guidelines will help in advancing the quality of the systems as well as the benefit that they provide to the healthcare industry. More information on the task force and their recommendations can be found in the original article at the JAMIA website.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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