Care Coordination through EHR Use

The future of healthcare will likely rely on the advances that technology can provide.

The future of healthcare will likely rely on the advances that technology can provide. Care coordination and effective care management requires systems that are capable of organizing patients’ information in a useful and accessible manner.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that as of 2012, 72% of practitioners used electronic health record (EHR) systems, up from 48% in 2009. 66% of physicians also reported that they planned to apply, or already applied, for meaningful use incentives in EHRs. However, these systems lag behind those in other industry sectors such as banking and travel, and consequently will require more invested development.

“While the progress toward EHR adoption is good news, the reality is that it is only the first step toward inter-organizational information exchange,” said Betty Jo Bomentre, chief medical information officer for HIT Applications Solutions. “Moreover, not all provider organizations are equally prepared or equipped for a large-scale HIE integration project, which can be complex, time-consuming and costly. Before engaging in a community, state- or nation-wide exchange, healthcare organizations should first become experts at data exchange and care coordination by focusing on improving their internal communications through an automated system. Once an organization can communicate seamlessly within its own four walls, the groundwork is set to share information with entities outside those walls.”

Once EHR use and other health technologies become more standardized, they are expected to transform the healthcare landscape. A study by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, published in the October issue of The American Journal of Managed Care, found that when doctors gain EHR capability, it increases their electronic capabilities. The study report findings include:

  • 87% could view lab results online, compared with 67% of all physicians;
  • 78% could send prescriptions electronically, compared with 55% of all physicians;
  • 73% could incorporate lab results into an EHR, compared with 42% of all physicians;
  • 61% could provide patients with clinical summaries, compared with 38% of all physicians;
  • 54% could send an electronic order to a lab, compared with 35% of all physicians; and
  • 49% could exchange clinical summaries with other providers, compared with 31% of all physicians.

Around the Web

NCHS Data Brief [CDC]

Care Coordination: Inspiring Change from Within [Healthcare IT News]

Physician Capability to Electronically Exchange Clinical Information, 2011 [AJMC]