There’s no question that healthcare organizations face significant challenges when it comes to implementing electronic health records. It’s a huge undertaking, from the cost of setting up and maintaining interfaces, to the tasks associated with staff changing their processes and learning a new system, to hurdles of interoperability. In fact, more than 70 percent of physicians have reported difficulties while trying to move to a digitized system, according to Medical News Today.
But while the growing pains associated with transitioning to electronic health records and meaningful use can be taxing, it’s important for healthcare organizations and staff to keep looking ahead towards the big picture: positive changes and efficiencies that EHRs will provide for the future for their organization, the patient experience, and quality care.
Once healthcare organizations get past the work of continual implementation phases and refining phases of EHRs, it will be essential in organizing and managing patient populations and establishing an accountable care organization. They’ll result in more complete, accurate and readable records that will be easily accessible by caretakers within the ACO, assist with seamless patient handoffs between doctors and other caretakers along the care continuum, and provide a more effective way to treat (and, hopefully in the grand scheme of things, prevent) chronic diseases, which, as of 2005, affected nearly 1 out of every 2 adults in the country, according to the CDC.
Electronic health records are good for the patient. They’re good for the hospital. The challenge is getting over the implementation hurdles of each phase– but once complete, the hope is that all the difficulties associated with getting the system up and running properly and consistently, will provide quite the ample pay off.