EHR general dissatisfaction is well-known. Despite how hard electroni? patient records can be to use, a number of doctors are saying the technology has made them better caregivers.
Our friends at Belitsoft (a medical software development company) have brought you answers to some important questions. Why do physicians prefer using EHRs and how this technology improve their workflow? What EHR features make doctors keep up to date? Read on to find out!
Quick access to comprehensive medical records
EHR is advocated as a doorway to smarter and more accessible healthcare. The Surescript report found that one-third of surveyed can easily determine which other care providers a patient has visited. Specialists are able to compile a comprehensive patient history by using any hit found in their records.
“Having real-time access quickly and reliably to medical information and data 24/7 is important to make this happen. Instead of hunting for lab work in a paper chart or trying to find a specialist’s consultation, I can access the information I need rapidly and focus on the patient in front of me.”
It is usually hard to detect common hospital-acquired infections in a crowded building where patients might get infected at every turn. The research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, “is a brilliant example of how we can learn from data in the electronic health records,” said Robert M. Wachter, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF.
The idea belongs to the UCSF Health Informatics team. They realized that each patient’s EHR contains detailed info about every step they had made for every test. Using these digital breadcrumbs found in the records, specialists were able to track patients in time and space, thus discovering a significant source of infection.
Dr. Jen Gunter supports EHR implementation and says she really loves the system. One of the features Jennifer highlights is a full integration with pharmacy services.
She has noted that many patients can’t remember their medications or doses, and even go off the meds she prescribed. Thus, for example, Dr. Gunter can take a guess and potentially have a patient buy an expensive medication.
Alternatively, she can call the pharmacy (if she remembers which services she used) to see if they can track down the right medication history and then she or her nurse appoints a follow-up visit if they get the answer.
However, the only viable option for Dr. Gunter is to use an EHR system. Thus, she can confirm the info with the electronic records and talk with a patient about how and why deviations happened.
Errors in prescription can happen for various reasons, like pharmacists’ incompetence, miscommunication between clinicians or doctor’s bad handwriting. Among medication errors, prescription inaccuracy is one of the major causes of concern for healthcare professionals. Today’s most effective technological solution is to implement an electronic prescribing system. With the help of e-prescribing software, prescription errors can be prevented in 80 percent of cases. It is also an actual solution for the opioid epidemic that puts Americans’ lives at risk.
The results, indeed, are impressive. But at the same time, eRx systems are considered inconvenient and costly for small practices. We’ve tried to explore e-prescribing market and identify the main problems of widespread system adoption.
Hitchhiker’s guide to eRx
Electronic prescribing (eRx) is a system that enables healthcare providers to generate digital prescriptions and send them to pharmacies directly from the point of care. e-Prescribing, in fact, improves accuracy, enhances patient safety and quality of care since there is no handwriting.
Systems integrated with EHRs, which include comprehensive patient data.
Stand-alone systems, which means that they can be used only for e-prescribing.
Some eRx systems offer advanced features that allow healthcare providers to access generic medication alternatives, insurance benefit info, and patient medication lists and histories. These extra features have the potential to improve physicians’ decision-making capabilities and increase the use of e-prescribing systems.
E-prescribing market analysis
A prospective EHR vendor has to comply with the regulatory requirements of their customers and know how to develop e-prescribing software. But is investing in eRx worth it?
According to the recent Transparency Market Research, the global market for e-prescribing is expected to reach a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 23.5 percent from 2013 to 2019. Persistent Market Research estimated that the market will reach $887.8 million in 2019.
While Europe holds the largest share in e-prescribing market, the US turned out to be the fastest-growing region. Indeed, increasing adoption of healthcare management software and extensive use of health IT for patient engagement are the key factors in industry growth. Furthermore, electronic prescribing is a requirement for healthcare providers aiming at achieving meaningful use under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
What do prospective vendors need to begin with electronic prescribing?
Major players on e-prescribing market: Cerner Corporation, DrFirst, HealthFusion, Surescripts, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., Aprima Medical Software, eClinicalWorks, athenahealth Inc. and Relayhealth Corporation.
To show what usability results you can expect, we have chosen the case of Surescript as an “open-source” company. Surescript is a VA-based operator of a nationwide electronic network for prescription-related data and information. Its platform connects EHRs, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies and clinicians, plus health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations.
Their 2017 National Progress report shows that 13.7 billion secure health transactions took place via the Surescripts network including 1.74 billio e-prescriptions. This is a 26 percent increase from 2016. This improvement was owing to five key elements: Drug Description, Representative National Drug Code (NDC), RxNorm, Structured and Codified Sig and Potency Unit Code.
Moreover, the network connected 1.47 million healthcare professionals — 13 percent more than in 2016 — with secure patient data for 233 million Americans, or 71 percent of the population.
Various government initiatives which focus on reducing medical errors, and the need to cut escalating healthcare costs foster the growth of the eRx market. The increasing cooperation between software vendors and network providers and the vast untapped regions are expected to provide significant development opportunities for industry players.