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Stephen O'Connor

By: Stephen O'Connor on December 28th, 2015

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Is a Cloud-Based EHR Appropriate for Your Practice?

Electronic Health Records

Cloud-Based EHRWith the push to nationalize electronic health records (EHR), or at least expand EHR adoption rates, many small to mid-sized practices are considering their options. Deciding whether to choose an in-house system or cloud-based EHR depends on practice goals, staff resources, financial constraints, and specialty, among other things.

To evaluate whether your practice should implement a cloud-based solution, take a look at the ways that web-native systems are contributing to better patient outcomes and improving quality of care for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Leveraging and Contributing to High-Quality Health Systems Data with Cloud-based EHR

In an interview with Hemodialysis.comRajiv Saran, MBBSDTCD, MD, MRCP, MS, Professor Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Department of Internal Medicine, Associate Director, University of Michigan Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center, discussed key findings in a study designed to explore the feasibility of applying “electronically available” health care data to estimate the prevalence of CKD. Dr. Rajiv explained the affect that data quality has on prevalence estimation. According to Rajiv, missing lab values, incomplete demographic information (such as race) and disparate definitions of comorbidities across different databases produced lower estimates than expected.

The study provided insight into pathways to provide high-quality care for CKD patients and ultimately improve outcomes for CKD patients throughout the national healthcare system. Identifying and tracking patients, optimizing clinical testing protocol, standardizing comorbidities definitions, ensuring patient records include all lab results and relevant demographic information, and making this data available via cloud-based EHR systems should improve the quality of electronic health systems data and produce better outcomes within individual practice populations. The key to fully utilizing electronic decision-support technology is ensuring accurate, real-time data supports research and research supports knowledge-based technology.

Collaborating with Care Team Specialists

Contributing to research and accessing national data to improve testing and treatment protocol aren't the only reasons a practice should consider implementing a cloud-based EHR. Managing CKD populations involves coordination of care with multiple specialists, dialysis centers, hospitalists and testing centers. Integrated technology enables real-time, accurate information to be directly received in the EHR.

Lab values for serum creatinine and urine protein testing should be available as quickly as possible when a patient in crisis arrives at the ER and over the course of the in-patient stay. Cardiology specialists need access to enzyme levels and PT values. Patients with diabetes mellitus may experience dangerous spikes in glucose levels when Prednisone is administered during cath procedures or contrast imaging, therefore the patient's endocrinologist must be kept informed and consulted before ordering pre-procedure medications.

Cloud-based EHR interoperability features enable access from diverse digital devices anywhere there is an Internet connection, expediting collaborative efforts and ensuring all relevant specialists have the same information when making treatment and testing decisions.

Communicating Effectively and Enhancing Patient Engagement

A complete EHR includes interfaces with labs and testing centers, in-EHR email/messaging systems and patient portals that enhance information sharing and two-way communication between medical providers and patients. Digital communication eliminates problems associated with illegible writing and time constraints. Updating the patient record with lab values allows patients to review results when convenient and reduces the amount of time staff members spend on the telephone delivering or explaining results.

Conclusion:

Patients, especially those who have significant medical histories, like CKD patients, often have trouble remembering health event dates, medication names and test results. To access the information in a traditional patient record, physicians or support staff must read through records to find relevant information. Comprehensive records are portable, searchable and easily accessible, eliminating the necessity for doctors to invest valuable time trying to find specific information, saving time and money in the process.

Three Key Benefits of Adding Cloud-based EHR to Any Practice

  • The key to fully utilizing electronic decision-support technology is ensuring accurate, real-time data supports research and research supports knowledge-based technology.
  • Cloud-based EHRs enable faster information sharing and improve collaborative efforts.
  • Improving communication is vital to helping patients stay informed about their health.

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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.