Electronic health records uptake in the U.S. has accelerated dramatically as a result of government initiatives and the considerable resources – both capital and time – healthcare providers have invested over the past five years. Electronic health records have become the heart of health IT, and U.S. clinicians use them on a daily basis.
Frost & Sullivan’s newest health IT analysis, “EHR Usability—CIOs Weigh in On What’s Needed to Improve Information Retrieval,” finds that as the market matures and the volume of EHR data proliferates, ensuring reliable information retrieval from EHRs at the point-of-care will become a priority for healthcare providers.
In spite of significant progress in EHR adoption, the road is paved with pitfalls for many providers. Frequently highlighted customer pain points include:
- Slow and inaccurate information retrieval from EHRs, as well as difficulty in finding and reviewing data, both of which result in productivity losses for clinician end-users as well as potential risks to patient safety.
- Inability to create targeted queries or easily access unstructured data such as clinician notes.
- Time-consuming data entry tasks.
“U.S. regulatory authorities will take notice of the growing chorus of complaints about EHR usability, resulting in a push to devote more resources to solving this issue,” said Frost & Sullivan Connected Health Principal Analyst Nancy Fabozzi. “Further, the high levels of end-user frustration with usability present strong business opportunities for pioneering technology vendors.”
New vendors are emerging to address these challenges. Innovation will most likely come from companies with deep expertise in advanced enterprise search technology. Natural language processing (NLP) and visualization dashboards are the technologies most suitable to improve EHR usability. NLP can produce readable summaries of unstructured text, helping clinicians retrieve information needed for point-of-care decision making.
“Data visualization dashboards will enable end-users to quickly understand data trends, significantly enhancing ease-of-use by streamlining and organizing vast amounts of data,” added Fabozzi. “The ability to triangulate EHR data with data from other sources is also crucial to ensure access to the right medical information for healthcare providers.”
EHR Usability—CIOs Weigh in On What’s Needed to Improve Information Retrieval is a Customer Research study that is part of the Connected Health Growth Partnership Service program. The research is based on an online survey of IT professionals working in US healthcare provider organizations. Administered in conjunction with the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME), the survey probes the key issues affecting access to structured and unstructured clinical data contained in EHRs. It discusses EHR spending and perceptions on ROI, core technology features needed to improve EHR search functionality, and additional technology solutions that users deploy to fill search functionality gaps.
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