HCOs are investing heavily into their EHRs yet still struggle to obtain the timely, relevant, and actionable information they need to monitor and improve performance
Health care organizations (HCOs) are investing millions into their IT systems, including Electronic Health Records (EHRs), hoping to put everything they need under one umbrella. Yet, much of that data remains an untapped asset. These “data rich, information poor” EHR solutions haven’t delivered on their promise of timely, meaningful, and relevant information that can be harnessed to improve performance. Why do EHR systems come up short on data analytics capabilities? Here are a few reasons.
1. EHRs Aren’t Designed for Business Intelligence or Data Analytics
EHRs collect and store a lot of information, but that doesn’t mean the information is useful. Data abstraction, which can be very labor-intensive, is a vital part of the equation. It’s what lets you put your data to work. Just because you have data in a data warehouse doesn’t make it meaningful or an asset to the organization. It is really only the beginning of the journey to achieving a BI solution that can deliver on its value proposition promise.
Integrating information from a wide range of sources is one way d2i’s cloud-based performance dashboard is invaluable for health care organizations. It takes all your data, not just EHRs, and integrates, cleans, and normalizes it so it can be used meaningfully within the same system.
2. HCOs Lack Time, Resources, and Necessary Skills to Integrate All the Data Meaningfully
As EHR systems aren’t equipped to integrate data from other sources or provide comprehensive tools to manage the data, most HCOs lack the capability to pick up where these systems leave off.
A good example of this is Stony Brook University Hospital, a regional medical center with 98,000 annual ED visits, and one of d2i’s first clients. When the Stony Brook ED decided it needed to streamline its data system, it first looked for an in-house solution from the hospital’s IT department. It took a year of unsuccessful IT efforts before the ED contracted with d2i.
3. EHRs Aren’t Intuitive or User-Friendly
EHR systems often are very complex and time-consuming to maintain. According to research from the American Medical Association and the University of Wisconsin, published in the Annals of Family Medicine:
Primary care physicians spend nearly 2 hours on electronic health record (EHR) tasks per hour of direct patient care. Demand for non–face-to-face care, such as communication through a patient portal and administrative tasks, is increasing and contributing to burnout.
Physicians, who remain at the forefront of the EHR user group, sometimes resist implementation of EHR systems, slowing the rate of adoption and impeding efficiency when it comes to managing patient medical records.
According to the study, physicians spend more than half of their workdays, or about 6 hours, interacting with the EHR during and after clinic hours.
Another study suggests that EHRs are not perceived as being user-friendly. According to the PEW Charitable Trusts, despite the considerable investment in the U.S. to encourage providers to adopt EHRs, many still find these systems have “poor usability”:
EHRs can put patients at risk of medical error, do little to enhance clinical care, and increase the time clinicians spend documenting patient care. Indeed, one study found that 15 percent of physicians reported that their EHR had caused a potential medication error within the past month.
A Value-Based Approach
HCO leadership expect clinical department stakeholders to navigate and spearhead the current transformation of health care to a more value-based approach. However, there is a lack of skilled resources, support, and commitment necessary to deliver and meaningfully interpret the mountains of data they have to make better decisions and drive change.
As EHRs fail to deliver on their promised BI value, HCOs must look to solutions that can integrate their EHR data with other crucial data sources in order to truly capitalize on its value.