The Health Care market is complex.
It has to be constantly focused on patient safety and quality of care, which can be significantly harder now than ever before. Therefore, healthcare professionals and patients have become to utilize telemedicine technology, with electronic health record systems being an intrinsic part of it.
EHR systems help to bridge the pursuance of high quality care and advancement in technology. They’re supposed to give a usable, always dependable, and convenient solution to the dilemma of health record management. Many may have guessed or known they are hard to assemble and support. However, what’s an EHR system essentially?
In this guide, we are going to go deep into the subject of electronic health record systems. We are going to provide the definition of an EHR, learn more about the benefits of EHR systems, find out what features every EHR system must have and strategies to attain that.
What is an Electronic Health Record system?
An electronic health record system is a digital version of the paper charts. Unlike paper versions which people have grown used to, electronic health records are considered more efficient, effective, and accessible to the patient and medical personnel alike.
EHR systems are designed to store patients’ health and treatment histories, providing a larger perspective of a person’s health. Records may be shared with licensed suppliers like healthcare professionals, pharmacies, laboratories, emergency facilities, medical imaging centers, and much more.
Sometimes, a person may get confused over the EMR vs. EHR juxtaposition. Fundamentally, an EMR — an Electronic Medical Record — is less complicated than an EHR and clarifies anything that may be found in a paper chart, such as medical history, diagnoses, allergies, and immunization dates. Subsequently, the expression EHR is used to store all the aforementioned data and more. An EHR system also allows sharing up-to-date information, retrieving information from the individual practice, and using built in tools to streamline decision-making. A regular EMP is meant to perform these tasks.
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When deciding upon an EHR system, it is vital to understand what types are among the. Accordingly, the standard approach to differentiating kinds of EHR systems is by considering where the servers storing data are located — which owns the data. These types include:
- Doctor hosted – the EHR data is on the physician’s server, so they’ve obtained the essential hardware and software and are responsible for information maintenance and security.
- Remotely hosted – the EHR data is on the third party host, meaning that server maintenance and data security are the responsibility of the third party owner of the server. The hosted system could be further divided into three categories:
- Subsidized – the EHR financing is subsidized by another entity, such as a hospital, with whom a physician enters into a legally binding relationship.
- Dedicated – the data on electronic health records are stored on the vendor’s dedicated servers.
- Cloud – the EHR data is stored in the cloud, meaning the EHR software is not installed on the physician’s computer, but it’s obtained through the vendor’s web site.
Despite all the good that EHR systems are often expected to bring to the table, electronic health records have been by many terms considered imperfect. Yet before the Covid-19 coronavirus struck, they have been proven to be the source of much additional work and comparatively few benefits.
However, following the pandemic highlighted those flaws far more brightly, the direct pathway to the long-needed transformation also got clearer. Specifically, this continuing transformation means the reversal of focus from keeping track of what happened to the person to providing health care employees the capacity to deal with the health difficulties. Useful EHRs must help providers make diagnoses and plan treatment. Thus, let us speak in more detail what might be accomplished through the EHR system development process to make this change happen.
Benefits of EHR systems
Electronic health record systems guarantee numerous advantages to their users. Thus, implementing an EHR system in a hospital, one takes a gigantic step towards improving document management in the company and so transforming healthcare. EHR system’s key capabilities allow managing patient-centered files in real time, making necessary information instantly available to authorized users, and much more. Let us have a look at the most outstanding benefits of EHR systems in medical care.
- Generally superior patient care. EHR solutions can considerably improve medical care quality. To begin with, they allow rapid access to individual records, making healthcare more acceptable for providers and patients alike. Processes become more coordinated and effective as approved people can get reliable access to accurate, up-to-date, and complete information regarding patients at the point of care.
- better clinical decision making. EHR products, by integrating patient information from multiple sources in one place, help streamline diagnostics outcomes. Following the patient’s medical history, all of their investigations, therapy plans, subscribed medications, allergies, immunization dates, medical images, and evaluation results orderly appear in 1 patient account, practitioners can more effectively diagnose patients and provide safer care. Advanced EHR systems also grant access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to reduce medical errors and make better decisions about a patient’s care.
- More effective communication. EHRs help enhance interaction and communication between a patient and a medical care provider, which results in increased patient participation in their own care and improved health care advantage. As both a patient and a doctor have access to electronic health information, it is easier for them to connect and understand each other. It’s particularly important to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently when it comes to handling chronic conditions or providing follow-up information after an appointment or hospital stay. Whatever the case, practitioners’ communication with other clinicians and labs may also be improved through the use of an EHR system.
- More accurate automated document processing. EHRs bring improved documentation and automatic coding skills to the table. They do not just automate and enhance provider workflow but also help promote and foster legible, complete documentation based on accurate billing and compact coding.
- Increased productivity. EHR systems help providers improve their productivity. When all the information is accurate and easy to find, the care coordination gets less cumbersome, and medical care providers’ productivity starts to increase. Better patient information accessibility can help prevent unnecessary tests and reduce medical errors that could occur when the medical care group’s perspective of a patient is fragmented as a consequence of limited interactions with them. As a result of this, it is practically impossible, with an EHR system setup to picture the bottlenecks happening when treating patients seeing quite a few specialists or making transitions between care settings.
- Improved efficiencies. A medical EHR system enables healthcare providers to boost practice efficiency due to streamlined medical practice management. Electronic health records include information useful for specifying queries based on individual’s conditions. It helps save time due to easier disease control and educate patients to their great. These aspects contribute to the structural integrity and cohesion of information and permit centralized chart administration. This way, the whole workflow becomes more efficient.
- Improved safety. EHR expansion means that patients, professionals, and the other celebrities in the care delivery process will discover a chance to securely access medical records. An EHR system enables the secure sharing of electronic data with patients and other clinicians. It makes it safer and more reliable to prescribe medication and manage prescriptions. Deciding to make an EHR, one chooses to enhance the privacy and security of patient information.
- Lower healthcare costs. Cost reduction is one of the most vital benefits of EHR systems. Specifically, costs can be reduced through decreased paperwork, enhanced security and health, and reduced duplication of testing, which might happen when communication is troubled. To start with, the costs of chart pull, data storage, and re-filing misfiled documents can reunite. Moreover, an EHR user will need less time and resources for guide charge entrance, resulting in more accurate billing and reduced charges.
Must-have features of an EHR system
Well, the advantages of implementing an EHR system in a hospital or private clinic are plentiful. But what are the components of a fully functional EHR? Let’s briefly discuss the top nine features of an electronic health record system.
1. ) Patient profile or portal: A medical patient portal can work as a standalone app or become an extension to an EHR system. To prepare a patient portal account, patients usually need to acquire corresponding documents like an activation code or instructions for activating and using the portal in their medical care provider. EHR patient portals provide means for patients
- Access personal health information published there with a healthcare facility
- Schedule in-person or electronic doctor’s appointments online
- View past appointments, along with see, reschedule or cancel future ones
- Download and complete registration forms prior to an appointment in the comfort of the homes
- View diagnostic test results or medical images online 24/7
- Update contact and other personal information
- Get notifications when new information is available: test results, medical records, prescriptions, or statements
2. Communication features: Clients can use a patient portal site or profile to efficiently and productively communicate with their healthcare providers and vice versa. Messaging the healthcare team with patients throughout the portal is an easy way to provide appointment follow-ups, ask questions and instantly receive responses from medical care specialists to a individual’s inbox. The capacity to directly and securely message with the healthcare team is one of the very game-changing features that make EHR systems appealing to patients and healthcare workers alike.
3. E-prescriptions: Electronic prescribing is just one more feature that needs to be supported by EHR software systems. Many treatment-seeking patients are accustomed to making an appointment with a doctor who, as they finish their meeting, will offer them a hand-written prescription they, in the near future, will give to their pharmacist to be given a drug. Though this approach is time-tested, it may have some drawbacks that are otherwise eliminated with e-prescriptions. Not only is it easier for users to request prescription refills, but also a certified person can see what other drugs a patient takes to prevent potentially harmful drug interactions. Besides, when all the information is readily available in electronic health records, incorrect dosage amounts are not a issue anymore, and a patient may describe prescribing report or directions side effects once if and when they happen.
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4. ) Charting and documentation management: One of the important reasons to use EHR systems is to deal with the abundance of medical documentation. A medical billing feature allows viewing detailed systematic information regarding physicians’ interactions with patients, the patient’s needs, care, and treatment. All documentation and graphs have legal force and are legally binding. It’s the medical care providers’ duty to keep comprehensive charting documentation, which enables them to handle claims reimbursement in the future and eliminates the need to navigate away from the patient’s chart to prescribe medications or complete any other routine tasks — what is in the charts. With a custom charting module, the provider has the ability to Handle documentation utilizing these subfeatures:
- Medical history and appointments monitoring
- Electronic prescription management
- Patient progress tracking
- Safe keeping of test results and medical images
- Data exchange with other modules
- Customizable specialty-specific EHR templates
- Speech-to-text transcription
- Protected health information (PHI) maintenance
- Access to medical guidelines and protocols
5. Laboratory integration: A laboratory data system could be made to be part of an EHR system or an independent program. 1 way or another, laboratory integration within an electronic health records system enables tracking and receiving test results almost effortlessly. It’s supposed to assist medical laboratories manage the most frequent issues such as human errors, slow turnaround times for laboratory tests, and inventory availability. This way, patients are better informed about their health conditions, and labs are permitted to improve how they manage their internal processes.
6. Distributed access control: Health-related data is deemed sensitive and, thus, must be carefully protected from leaking to third parties. Role-based access control is what allows handling the situation appropriately. Access control in healthcare information systems, in the first place, helps ensure that only authorized users have access to resources within a system. Additional however, when configuring access control, a person must be sure clinicians will receive all of the information they need to make well-considered informed decisions. Therefore, it might take extra effort to map strict yet sensible access control rules that are process-based but clearly define who can create and manage documents containing one or another kind of information.
7. Reporting: Successful reporting can and must be incorporated into every EHR system. It may improve the security of electronic health records use and system usability. Thorough important reporting is a key to getting valuable clinical and financial information that might be used to get insight on what to focus on to improve the quality of services delivered via an EHR system. These analytical data also facilitate evidence-based decision-making and quality management.
8. Billing: Any advanced EHR system should include a medical billing dashboard to create billing fast and convenient. For superior EHR system efficiency, a billing management module needs to be integrated with medical scheduling and practice management modules. Afterward, users will be in a position to:
- Insert payment methods and conserve bank data for future payments
- View and update patient’s insurance information
- Submit and respond to billing inquiries
- Transfer data from charts to invoices
- View billing history of wellness payment records
9. Cloud computing: Arguably, the best EHR systems are cloud-based. Electronic health records can be hosted on computers remotely or locally. The former is also known as a traditional EHR system, and the latter is a cloud-based EHR system. So, choosing the kind of a future electronic health record system is a significant thing that must be taken yet before the project implementation. Though this choice should address specific clinical practice’s needs, cloud-based EHRs are being selected for more and more often. There are lots of reasons for this shift:
- It reduces management effort
- Upfront hardware and software costs are substantially lower
- Maintenance costs are also reduced
- The amount of IT service availability is a lot higher
- It enables starting small to increase IT allocations as and when required
- Run-time failures are less of an issue as regular data backups can be done automatically
Technologies to use when building an EHR system
There are lots of activities to successful EHR implementation. Among the most significant stages in the EHR development procedure is the assortment of the tech stack to your electronic health record system. The chosen technologies must serve the single purpose of creating a usable, dependable, service-oriented architecture. Subsequently, this architecture must guarantee health information technology interoperability which permits cohesive exchange, interpretation, and utilization of data among different systems.
In order to create the modern service-oriented structure, the application has to be divided into different modules that would communicate with another via REST API. An individual may also consider these modules as services (billing, charting, etc.) First of all, this kind of architecture enables increased app scalability, easier system maintenance, and considerably more precise fault detection, isolation, and recovery. Moreover, a development team then can ensure the system’s compliance with the current healthcare regulations like HIPAA and HITECH, GDPR, PIPEDA, or PCI-DSS.
Nevertheless, let’s have a short look at what elements the EHR system structure should include:
Backend: The backend technology stack requirements are defined based on the desired EHR system development scale and sophistication level. Simultaneously, the back end is where the system’s logic is constructed, so all technologies you pick should be in tune together. These technologies are:
- A programming language
- Web frameworks and libraries
- A database server
- A web server
- Cloud servers
Frontend: An EHR system might be designed for PC only, or it may likewise be supported on tablet computers and smartphones. The system’s front-end — the visible to users part — should be made with this consideration in mind. Pills are convenient devices widely utilized in the service sector in developed countries, so developing a tablet-friendly mobile application compliant with iOS and Android operating systems may be the perfect decision for you. 1 way or another, to make the EHR system front end, a Person will need these technologies:
- A programming language
- Web frameworks and libraries
- iOS SDK
- Android SDK
UI/UX design: User interface and user experience design cannot be overlooked when creating healthcare information technology systems. A well-designed UI/UX is instrumental in hiding the inherent complexity of healthcare software from end-users. It’s to seamlessly guide the user through the workflow highlighting the system’s key features and functionality and helping them get the planned result without confusing them or forcing erroneous conclusions.
Quality assurance: As a guideline, each app must be extensively tested, especially if we discuss health records. Therefore, each development team has to have a quality assurance engineer who will develop an appropriate testing strategy and assist the staff make an EHR system ideal, secure, and convenient to use.
Electronic health records are becoming a crucial part of the modern healthcare landscape. In the event that you or your organization is looking into the possibility of creating your own customized EHR system, we need to ensure you’re on the right path! The EHR software built from scratch can meet your needs as no out-of-the-box solution would.
With the user-centric design and custom functionality, your EHR system will satisfy all stakeholders. Yet, to do so, you will need a qualified, trustworthy, and professional software development vendor. Vilmate has years of experience building software systems from the ground-up, in the health care sector particularly.
If you are interested in discussing the possibility of working together on your project or have any questions, reach out to us with the contact form below!
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