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Wednesday, 22 January 2020

How EHR Software Can Improve Quality of Care

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While some industries remain slow to adopt new technology, the healthcare industry is fully embracing it. In fact, studies show that nearly 9 in 10 (86%) of office-based physicians are using electronic health record (EHR) systems to track all aspects of patient care. Over the years, EHR software has significantly changed not only patient record documentation, storage, and retrieval, but ultimately the level of care provided. When used appropriately, EHR software can serve as a valuable tool to improve the quality of care and ultimately result in better outcomes.

Prevents Adverse Effects

Decision-making support tools built into EHR systems help prevent adverse events associated with drug allergies and harmful drug interactions. Access to patient history and pharmaceutical information helps providers make accurate decisions when prescribing or administering medication. EHR software not only keeps a record of a patient's medications or allergies, but it also automatically checks for issues whenever a new drug is prescribed and alerts the clinician to potential conflicts.

Enhances Coordination of Care

With EHR software, healthcare providers have access to medical records at their fingertips. Patient information can be easily shared with medical care teams, which ensures that every provider has the data necessary to make informed decisions about a patient’s care, regardless of where the patient seeks medical attention. This process also reduces the time needed to make a diagnosis and create a plan of care. Patients in critical condition and emergency situations can receive prompt and appropriate attention based on their comprehensive health history, which is essential if they are non-responsive.

Improves Diagnosis

Patients with a complicated medical history and those who suffer from multiple chronic conditions often have extensive records. EHR software allows physicians to review a comprehensive file that clearly outlines all aspects of a patient's health history, including medications, financial circumstances, environmental challenges, family history, mental health status, lifestyle risk factors, and past surgical events. When physicians have access to a patient's complete health history, they are better equipped to diagnose the patient. This means past trauma, allergies, and other important factors are less likely to be overlooked. Also, the patients themselves are not responsible for trying to remember their history and properly convey it to their doctors.

Helps Manage Preventable Diseases

Improving patient outcomes and enhancing the quality of care with EHR software may involve identifying patients who have not taken advantage of necessary screening examinations. Preventative testing may reveal early signs that a patient is at risk for developing conditions such as colon or prostate cancer, pancreatitis, kidney disease, or glaucoma. Since EHR makes identifying risks and behaviors easier, it enables healthcare professionals to educate patients in managing their own risk factors.

Transforms the Clinical Process

EHR software allows administrative staff to monitor patient flow and track the path each patient takes during encounters with physicians, office staff, lab technicians, and financial services. By carefully evaluating each touchpoint, EHR provides insight that allows practice managers to identify areas where processes could be improved, such as reducing waiting room times and ensuring that tests are ordered and results are reported as effectively as possible.

Boosts Patient Compliance

Effective communication with patients is essential in diagnosing and treating any condition. Patient portals strengthen patient-provider relationships. When patients can review clear records and doctor's notes at their convenience, they are more inclined to ask follow-up questions about test results they don't understand. Additionally, if errors or inconsistencies are observed, patients can contact the practice to correct issues, which means the record is kept accurate. The more involved a patient is in the health management cycle, the more likely they are to strive for positive results.

Reduces Errors

EHR software significantly reduces the chance of human error. Providers are no longer required to take handwritten notes, summarize care plans, and write illegible prescriptions. Billing is more efficient: it is easier for practices to track their costs accurately, and billing is less complex for patients who receive invoices from multiple physicians. A digitized system of record also keeps documents and information from getting lost or misplaced, as is often the case with paper records.

Guides Staff

The most sophisticated systems actually guide all involved through their workflows to make sure that everyone understands what they have to do and when they have to do it. No one in a practice should have to wonder which forms to administer, what paperwork is due (or overdue), or what next steps are required in a particular circumstance. The EHR system can serve as a kind of digital supervisor that notifies staff when they need to attend to a task or follow a particular procedure.

Improves Patient Experience

Most patients are used to having to complete several forms each time they arrive at a medical appointment. This process is not only time-consuming for the patient, but also inefficient for the administrative staff who re-enter this information into office computers. EHR software streamlines that process so that it is only completed once and synchronized with the entire system. That way, each provider can access the information instantly, and the patient isn't required to complete it again at subsequent appointments. Additionally, using patient portals within the EHR, patients have access to their records from personal computers or, in some cases, even mobile devices.

One of the most revolutionary changes that has taken place in the medical industry during the last decade is the switch to EHR systems. According to one national survey, 75% of providers report that their EHR allows them to deliver better patient care. EHRs offer clinicians many opportunities to improve quality of care, including preventing drug interactions and transforming patient flow to enhance patient experiences. By implementing these systems, you can elevate not only the quality of care you provide, but also the efficiency of your practice.

Does your practice need a practice management system that, more than any other, will help improve how you manage your clinic roster? Contact ClinicTracker so we can talk about how our software can help you take quality of care to the next level.


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