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EHRs Hold Promise of Improved Health Care
Authors present gaps, recommendations (February 4)
Electronic health records (EHRs) hold the promise to improve primary health care for millions of patients. However, enhancing current EHR functionality is needed to better support primary care clinicians and patients, according to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.
“The adoption and use of electronic health records could greatly improve health care and lead to better patient outcomes, yet many clinicians are dissatisfied with current EHR systems,” said lead author Alex Krist, MD. “Enhancements to electronic record functionality are needed to better support care. Primary care needs EHRs to move beyond focusing on disease and instead focus on the whole person.”
The objectives of EHRs remain focused on disease, ignoring the many factors that can play a role in someone’s overall health. These factors include personal risks, behaviors, family structure, and occupational and environmental influences. According to the article, EHRs should move beyond documentation to interpreting and tracking information over time.
The article recommends that a person-centered summary, or “patient profile,” should be available as a “dashboard” in the EHR and that decision-support tools should be tailored based on these factors.
Other EHR improvements cited in the article include:
- Enhancing the extraction, interpretation and prioritization of critical health information for individual patients and a clinician’s patient panel
- Advancing information exchange to coordinate care across clinicians and settings
- Greater patient engagement
- Population-management tools to deliver care
- Reduction in documentation burden
- Better integration of care across settings
Source: Virginia Commonwealth University; February 4, 2014.