Hospitals continue to spend millions on the implementation of Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. Despite this spending, a recent survey suggests that many hospital executives are frustrated with the performance of EHRs.
Premier, Inc., the 3,000-hospital purchasing alliance based in Charlotte, NC, released survey results which show that 41% of C-Suite respondents say they are either dissatisfied or indifferent toward their EHR system. The survey cites cost, difficulty of use and lack of integration as the main issues.
According to Michael Alkire, Premier’s COO, providers want a solution that integrates clinical, financial and operational data across their hospitals and health systems and most EHRs can’t deliver that result.
That’s why interoperability is so important. No one can argue that a fully informed physician, with the help of decision-making support software, can make a better call on the patient’s health.
Although EHRs were positioned as cost savers, they do little to drive efficiency on the labor, equipment or supply side. In addition, EHRs support clinical excellence, but performance can be limited by the level of operational efficiency present within the hospital.
In the optimal hospital environment, maximum efficiencies are achieved through the interconnection of the operational platform and the EHR. Both systems must be synchronized to orchestrate all clinical and non-clinical patient movements in a manner that streamlines patient flow, logistics, and departmental handoffs from admission to discharge. When the systems interact well, hospitals achieve immediate, measurable and sustainable gains in system-wide productivity.
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While some EHRs provide patient flow solutions, they don’t offer:
• Sophisticated data analysis, workflow automation and operational expertise needed to manage the hospital enterprise in real time.
• The ability to instantly analyze what is right or wrong and accurately measure workflow improvement.
• Milestone features that improve discharge planning by measuring the patient’s proximity to discharge.
• The ability to project census in order to match staffing levels with demand.
• “Smart” software that dispatches the most appropriate service personnel automatically, based upon skill set, proximity to task, priority and equipment availability.
• The ability to offer real-time information on throughput because discharge information from an EHR system is typically delayed 90-120 minutes.
• Capacity reporting, without which it is virtually impossible to improve performance, maintain accountability, or increase compliance.
There is demonstrable proof that an operational platform can drive out waste, sustain operational efficiencies, and increase margins through tighter operational control. By bridging the operational and clinical sides of the house, integrated systems can ensure the record is there as the patient arrives, medical devices are in the right place, and beds are available when needed.
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