6 Ways an Electronic Health Records System Improves Quality of Care
Electronic health records (EHRs) are just digital versions of paper records. They have the potential to transform clinical settings and improve quality of care. Here are six ways that EHR systems help medical teams deliver high-quality care to their patients for better outcomes.
Preventing Adverse Effects
Decision-making support tools built into web-based EHR systems help prevent adverse events associated with drug allergies and negative drug interactions caused by food or other medications. Expeditious access to drug contraindications, patient history and pharmaceutical information enables providers to make faster decisions when prescribing or administering medication at the point of care.
From a broader perspective, pertinent information recorded in a patient EHR can be easily shared with medical care teams to support decisions and specialists to make sure every medical provider has the information necessary to make informed decisions necessary to diagnose and treat problems regardless of where the patient seeks medical attention.
Making it Easier to Consider All Aspects of a Patient's Health
Patients with a complex medical history and those who suffer from multiple chronic conditions often have voluminous records. Digital health records allow physicians and clinicians to review a comprehensive file that clearly identifies all aspects of a patient's health, including, but not limited to a complete list of medications, financial circumstances, environmental challenges, familial histories, mental health status, lifestyle risk factors and past surgical events.
Enabling Research and Clinical Quality
The ability to leverage analytic capabilities to generate outcomes by population group, drug trial participation, active conditions and other parameters allows medical teams to monitor and evaluate treatment plans and disease progression. Not only do these reports empower doctors to make better clinical decisions during patient encounters, but sharing the information with peers, colleagues and research facilities provides valuable, actionable information to improve quality of care for all patients around the globe.
Managing Preventable Diseases
Improving patient outcomes and enhancing quality of care with EHR technology may involve identifying patients who have not taken advantage of important screening examinations, Preventative testing may reveal early signs a patient is at risk for developing conditions such as prostate or colon cancer, pancreatitis, kidney disease or glaucoma.
While untreated glaucoma silently destroys the optic nerve and will eventually rob affected people of their sight, early intervention and rigorous treatment dramatically reduces the risk of vision loss and total blindness. Helping patients manage risks via education is easier with EHRs since identifying risks and behaviors is easier. No one can avoid all disease and injury throughout the life span, but positive outcomes are more likely when the events develop in isolation rather than as an additional problem to add to a long list of complaints and chronic conditions.
Transforming the Clinical Process
High-quality care involves addressing “stressful” situations for patients. EHR technology enables administrative staff to monitor patient flow to virtually experience the path each patient takes during encounters with physicians, office personnel, lab technicians and financial services staff.
Carefully evaluating each touch point provides insight that allows practice managers to identify areas where processes could be modified to reduce waiting room time, make certain tests are ordered and results reported in the most effective manner and patients experience less time waiting for prescriptions once they arrive at their pharmacy.
Improving Patient Compliance and Engagement
Effective communication with patients is essential for diagnosing and treating clients. Patient portals strengthen patient-provider relationships. When patients can review clear, legible records and doctor's notes at their convenience, they may be more inclined to ask follow up questions about orders and 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 accurate. Studies have confirmed that patient education encourages compliance and empowers patients to be active participants in their own health journey. The more involved a patient is in the health management cycle, the more likely it is they will strive to achieve positive results, working in tandem with physicians to improve quality of care and outcomes.
EHRs offer physicians many opportunities to improve quality of care, including:
- Preventing drug interactions and allergic reactions Making it easier to take a holistic approach to health management
- Participating in research and clinical quality control
- Encouraging medical screenings for disease prevention and risk management
- transforming patient flow to enhance patient experiences and practice efficiency
- Supporting voluntary patient compliance and engagement
About Stephen O'Connor
As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.