Many organizations need to consider upgrading their technology, especially regarding data integration- they can choose a structure that is flexible and adaptable to new applications as needed, or function as a centralized platform- which has other issues regarding functionality. A rethinking of logistics, technical issues, and resource allocation will be at the core of this decision- and provide the foundation for following decisions and structures to come.
Another element is the upscaling of staff and bringing in top IT talent- and unfortunately most of these professionals aren’t eager to enter the healthcare field because of legacy technology. Legacy technology won’t attract top talent, and without top talent it’s tough to convert to updated technology.
Bob Renner, CEO of cloud-based data management firm Liaison Technologies predicts that focusing on improving IT infrastructure will provide a competitive edge as opposed to those who opt to stick with legacy. He suggests adopting the view that technology applications are replaceable whereas information is an asset, which will help guide choices to follow.
Electronic Health Records (EHR) can give staff better information regarding patient care and can create more efficient processes while allowing different health systems to “speak” to one another. Ironically, it can result in inefficiencies or workflow issues, non-standardized trainings and certifications, and inadvertently be detrimental to patients. Federal testing criteria needs to anticipate customized changes within the EHR software – current focus is only on the pre-implementation phases. In addition, current testing doesn’t establish appropriate test scenarios to help evaluate the usability or safety in a reliable, consistent way.
With the aid of qualified participants within all phases of software use, The Pew Charitable Trusts, MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, and the American Medical Association developed recommendations for future development regarding usability and safety of software for the developers and EHR users. This would help identify potentially harmful situations in the implementation and customizations of EHRs.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is consistently modifying testing requirements and doing what they can to encourage proper EHR software use by hospitals and doctors, and by offering a voluntary certification program to individual institutions- thereby supplementing the current certification that’s in place.
It has been difficult to develop a consistent set of testing standards- variability among EHR designs, from individual user-to-user as well as within institutions, and variation of complexities from patient to patient all create their own sets of difficulties.
The adoption of best practices in the use of EHRs, along with certification and incorporation of its underlying principles can help guide the anticipation of upcoming challenges and amplify patient safety.
We can help your organization assess current processes, identify improvement opportunities and implement future technologies and practices to improve performance. Contact PCG’s experienced consultants today.