Electronic Health Records Foster Increased Efficiency

Although many challenges still exist, measuring the impact of the EHR on treatment and clinical areas is happening among health care innovators.

health it and himss

In a sign that electronic health records (EHRs) are having a positive impact, an HIMSS survey found that EHRs yielded increases in clinical staff quality performance for 87 percent of hospitals that implemented the technology.

Limited exclusively to hospitals with highly sophisticated EHR environments, the survey identified and profiled patterns in Health IT value experiences leveraging the HIMSS STEPSTM model.

The findings indicate many challenges, such as security, still exist, yet also found IT is creating a positive shift within healthcare organizations, one that’s deriving quality care and improved outcomes.

"Medical data is highly valuable data on the black market and there are many examples of security incidents that have been made public; these incidents have impacted millions of Americans," Jennifer Horowitz, senior director of research at HIMSS North America, told eWEEK. "Health care organizations need to ensure they have a full complement of security tools in place to protect data housed in the EMR--they also need to make sure they have comprehensive education programs in place so that their employees are aware of the role they play in data security."

She noted the 2016 HIMSS cyber security survey provides, among other data, comprehensive information on the tools health care organizations are presently using to secure their environment, and how they are handling situations in which they have been breached and more.

"Healthcare organizations are going to continue to gain additional functionality with regard to their IT environments, opening up new opportunities for leveraging data to improve patient outcomes," Horowitz said.

She noted healthcare organizations are demonstrating value from EHRs in a variety of ways--Metro Health System in northeast Ohio has demonstrated value across a variety of areas, including care of its diabetic population and screening for high-risk infectious diseases like HIV.

Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) in central Ohio established a data mart and developed an antimicrobial stewardship program to monitor potential overuse, under use and misuse of antimicrobial agents, yielding a variety of benefits.

Centura Health, which manages 16 hospitals in Colorado and Kansas was able to demonstrate value in the reduced number of patient falls with injury and number of blood transfusions issued.