The Present and Future of Electronic Health Records

Encora | September 03, 2021

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have become a building block of the healthcare industry. The digital equivalent of a patient’s paper chart, EHRs include all kinds of important information, such as notes, prescribed medications, vital sign history, lab data, immunizations, radiology reports, and more.

As a cornerstone of HealthTech, EHRs hold comprehensive data of a patient’s clinical history. They also contribute to the automation and optimization of health provider workflows. Moreover, they grant access to evidence-based tools that providers can use to make recommendations for the care of their patients.

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The Pivotal Role of EHRs

More and more, the digitization of patient medical data has become the goal for many healthcare providers. In addition, this shift is very much encouraged by the increased number of consumers that wish to have mobile access to their health records. In this way, EHRs play an increasingly important role in the healthcare industry.

For years, EHR features have been considered a secure method of enhancing medical care frameworks. As a result, because of their ease of access and increasing interoperability, EHR adoption has prevailed amongst healthcare providers and hospitals. As their use becomes more mainstream, steady market growth is expected. According to Appinvent’s predictions, the EHR market will peak at $30.4B in 2023, a 5.4% growth from 2017.

Core Features

A complete, robust EHR solution brings benefits for patients and providers alike. The following are some core features and considerations healthcare providers need to keep in mind when developing and implementing their EHR solutions.
Ease of use
User-friendliness is paramount since it results in an easy-to-use solution and adds value by supporting existing workflows for medical professionals.

Automation

EHRs can streamline data entry by leveraging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Healthcare providers can significantly reduce manual processes by automating charting through the use of customizable chart templates.

Integration and interoperability

With a wide range of features and integrations available, EHR software has broad potential but should consider existing systems and processes. Interoperability with scheduling, claims processing, billing, and integrations with laboratory software is crucial. This integration will enable a comprehensive two-way sharing of results and patient data.

Medication Tracking

EHRs should give physicians access to all the medications prescribed to a patient. In addition, the complete tracking and recording of a patient’s medication history allow medical professionals to see the full scope of their treatment. Prescriptions enable comprehensive (and clearly written) management of medication and reduce errors caused by ineligible handwriting.

Patient Portal

This feature reduces the need for cumbersome paperwork and manual retrieval of data. Furthermore, medical records can be available on-demand by offering a portal that patients themselves can access directly. Having easy access to their data encourages patients to be more involved in their health journey, improving medical outcomes.

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Future Trends

Keeping current is crucial for EHR companies. The following are some trends to keep in mind for the future.

  • Adopting agile approaches - an accelerated deployment methodology can help healthcare providers save money by reducing implementation costs.
  • Reducing EHR release cycle times - this practice can be helpful for further enhancements, mainly because it allows for the continuous delivery of functionalities to clients. In addition, it can reduce risks and return feedback more effectively.
  • Creating app extensions - app extensions provide the interoperability that EHR solutions may lack outside their system. They can also offer a way to rapidly deploy independent solutions integrated closely into the EHR system. These apps can be made available through proprietary application marketplaces.
  • Expanding the EHR footprint - as the leading supplier of paper-to-screen technology for healthcare providers, it is crucial for EHR systems to be inclusive of digital capabilities. As HealthTech develops further, this can position them as comprehensive digital health platforms.
  • Allow for a customized user experience - having a system that can compose, recompose, and extend is vital for healthcare providers. The latter can only be achieved with modular, cloud-based EHR solutions that enable enterprise integration at scale.

EHRs: Going Forward

The use of EHRs has become a fundamental approach in the clinician-patient care experience in recent years. However, innovative tech companies can develop new ways to make these systems more feature-rich and user-friendly.

Here are some essential aspects that can be integrated and developed to improve the EHR experience for patients as well as for providers:

The integration of voice assistance and language processing can streamline data entry and medical record searches. For example, searching for a patient’s medical history using voice commands can make the process more efficient for healthcare providers. As this technology develops further, medical professionals could also use it to write clinician’s notes and close the visit, availing a keystroke-free approach to medical record tracking.

Accessibility developments will help to shorten the time per patient while increasing accuracy in tracked patient data. With the increasing demand for fully connected and mobile EHR devices (tablets, phones, smartwatches, etc.), technology companies will need to create purpose-built solutions (such as location data, messaging, and more).

Focusing on data liquidity will allow data to be more accessible and portable while maintaining security. Moreover, by coming up with interoperable solutions, healthcare organizations can easily access and exchange patient data upon request.

Telehealth platforms have become a vital aspect during the pandemic, demonstrating the value of remote patient care. Technology developers can drive integration, enabling virtual care visits to be launched through EHR platforms, where records will be tracked and maintained.

By integrating these approaches and exploring other innovative angles, EHRs will help transform the digitization of the clinician-patient relationship into a seamless and feature-rich experience.

About Encora

Encora is an industry leader in product engineering services. We help technology companies to build digital products and platforms that are best-in-class. Our nearshore and offshore teams combine enterprise-grade agile software engineering approaches, consumer-grade experiences, and data-driven insights.

Encora can accelerate time-to-market and adoption, enabling disruptive HealthTech companies to focus on making an impact with new solutions and approaches. We bring a breadth of experience working with leaders in Telehealth & Virtual Care, Patient Engagement, Remote Patient Monitoring & Connected Care, Hospital Administration, and EHR & Revenue Cycle Management.

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