In today’s digital age, Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have become a game-changer for the healthcare industry. Since their initial implementation, EHR systems have come a long way and continue to evolve with each passing day. In fact, many healthcare practices have incorporated EHR into their existing systems, allowing them to streamline their operations and improve patient outcomes. But that’s just the beginning.
It’s worth noting how far EHR has improved healthcare and what it can do in the future. In this blog post, we explore the pivotal role of EHRs, the trends shaping them, and the predictions of what to expect next.
The Important Role of EHRs
In recent years, many healthcare providers have become increasingly committed to digitizing patient medical records. New technologies incorporated by the EHR industry and the increasing number of patients who wish to access their health records on the go also strongly influence this shift.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services states that EHRs reduce the incidence of medical errors by improving the accuracy of health records. Furthermore, EHRs have long been considered “future health software” and an effective way to enhance health care delivery. Since EHRs are easy to access and interoperable, doctors and hospitals have opted to use them.
At the same time, EHR adoption benefits patients and healthcare institutions in the following ways:
- EHRs provide a way for healthcare institutions to lower medical costs, improve patient care, and track patient data.
- EHRs allow patients to access their medical records to understand their medical history and health conditions better, save time and money, and reduce travel hassles.
(Source: The National Library of Medicine, 2022)
Thus, EHRs are becoming a more integral part of the healthcare system.
Trends Shaping the Future of Electronic Health Records
Since their invention in the 1960s, EHRs have made great strides, but there’s no denying that there’s still plenty of room for growth and improvement. With technological advancements and changing healthcare needs, EHRs have become more crucial than ever before. So, it’s natural to wonder what the future holds for this innovative technology. Are you also curious about the future of electronic health records? Let’s explore the latest trends and predictions for the future of EHRs and discover how they’re set to transform the healthcare industry.
Below are the five EHR trends to watch in the coming years, which can offer valuable insight into how EHRs will continue to evolve.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning
As artificial intelligence is incorporated into health care systems, physicians can more quickly examine and analyze unstructured patient cases via automation tools. It is an EHR technology that facilitates quick preauthorization of insurance without facing any errors or discrepancies in the process.
Several practices use artificial intelligence to help diagnose patient conditions. Before recognizing an illness, an algorithm must be trained on thousands of examples, just as doctors practice intensely to become proficient.
A study found that AI and machine learning can support precise and personalized diagnosis by leveraging large amounts of patient data. Several companies are experimenting with AI-based voice recognition as an EHR trend.
Read the recent study from two major research teams about using AI machine learning to improve electronic health records (EHRs).
2. Interoperability and Data Sharing
The concept of interoperability in EHR systems defines a unified environment for health data sharing, allowing information systems, devices, and applications (systems) to access, exchange, integrate, and cooperate in utilizing data. Simply, it facilitates patient information sharing between multiple EHR systems and providers.
Meanwhile, the lack of interoperability between EHR systems leads to poor care quality and waste of resources. That is why the EHR industry and its developers will continue to update EHR systems to comply with interoperability standards. As a provider, you should know that EMRs are less likely to integrate with other systems, unlike EHRs.
In general, EHRs are more capable and can integrate internal record-keeping. The future of EHRs looks bright as the demand for interoperability grows.
3. Telehealth and Remote Care Monitoring
Telehealth has rapidly evolved with continued advancements in technology and healthcare innovations. The introduction of electronic health records (EHRs) and increased internet access usage have made healthcare more accessible to patients at home.
At the same time, Remote Patient Monitoring is a type of telehealth that uses digital medical devices like weight scales and blood pressure monitors. These devices transmit data electronically to healthcare providers to manage care.
Together, telehealth and EHR technology systems can provide high-quality patient care to patients in remote locations. These technologies can help you achieve the following benefits:
- Sync insurance information in one place
- Improve patient-physician communication
- Enhance the efficiency of virtual care
- Automate the data entry process
Using telehealth systems lets you access accurate, up-to-date patient information while treating patients virtually.
4. Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
Data security is a high priority in the healthcare industry. With healthcare becoming digitized, patient data is vulnerable to cyber threats and breaches.
Cybersecurity measures in EHRs prevent unauthorized access to patient data, theft, or tampering. As part of this, use robust authentication protocols, encrypt data at rest and transit, and monitor systems regularly.
Data privacy is equally important to maintain patient trust and confidentiality. Patients have the right to control their health information and know how it is used and shared. It also involves obtaining their informed consent before sharing their data or getting permission to access their data.
As EHR technologies become prevalent, the need for strong cybersecurity and data privacy measures will only increase. It is essential in the age of telehealth when communication and information access are heavily dependent upon digital platforms. Prioritizing patient data security and privacy is one of the EHR trends to build a more effective and trustworthy healthcare system.
5. Patient Engagement
EHR technology is becoming a vital part of healthcare’s digital transformation. A growing number of patients are using EHR tools such as patient portals to access their medical records, giving them more knowledge about their conditions and encouraging them to participate in their care. In addition, it can improve follow-up for missed appointments and diagnostic tests. With more patients using EHRs, the use of digital health information in health care and research will rise.
Predictions for the Future of Electronic Health Records
Since EHRs are ever-evolving platforms, predicting what is to come is difficult. The future of EHR, however, is surrounded by some speculations. Expect these two things:
1. Data Integration from Wearable Devices
Devices with sensors can measure activity levels, including smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smart goggles. As a healthcare provider, you can remotely monitor high-risk patients’ health by integrating wearable data into EHR systems.
As a result, patients can receive better care by receiving detailed insights into their day-to-day activities and medication routines. With technological advancement, wearables provide users with several months’ worth of information and enable seamless patient-provider communication.
2. Analytics and Data in Real-Time
Healthcare institutions collect large amounts of patient data. With access to patient health and financial information, vendors can provide physicians with clinical decision support. Using predictive analytics algorithms can help resolve accessibility issues related to interoperability.
As wearable devices and telehealth platforms expand in the coming decades, the future of electronic health records will continue to improve. The healthcare tech sector generally continues to change and adapt due to a changing environment.
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