The health care system is complex. Electronic health records (EHR) help make this environment more manageable by supplying doctors and patients with a central database of health information. However, each EHR vendor offers a slightly different product, making EHR interoperability in the health IT environment necessary to maximize its effectiveness.
Many health care providers and facilities have adopted electronic health records. Thus, understanding EHRs can help any practice benefit from improved EHR interoperability. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology reported that 86% of general acute care hospitals use a 2015 Edition certified electronic health record (EHR) in their systems, based on data from 2019 to 2021.
What is EHR interoperability?
The term encompasses the exchange of data, connectivity, and secure information sharing among EHRs and health care stakeholders. Interoperability refers to the ability of different systems to share information or to work with other systems or networks.
When it comes to electronic health records (EHRs), interoperability means that the records and information in one provider’s or system’s system can be easily transferred to another’s.
Health care systems use a variety of methods to exchange patient data, but electronic health records are usually considered as one of the most efficient and secure ways to share information.
Here are reasons why EHR interoperability matters:
1. Interoperable EHR means immediate access to readable health care data
With interoperable electronic health records, clinicians now have immediate access to patients’ health care data and can make timely diagnoses and treatment plans. This leads to fewer errors related to lack of timely access to data because interoperable EHR systems allow them to get a clear picture of their patient’s health statuses more quickly. EHR interoperability improves the delivery of health care by making sure that the right data is available at the right time to the right people.
2. EHR interoperability helps health systems operate more efficiently.
An interoperable environment will enable better workflows and reduce ambiguity, making it easier for data to be transferred among EHR systems and health care stakeholders. This also means reduced redundant tests and lab draws and saving everyone time. Patients can get their own data more easily, which helps them track their care. Administrative tasks are made simpler too.
3. Interoperable EHR enhances patient care.
Patients also benefit from knowing that their healthcare records are complete When patients know their healthcare records are complete and accurate, they benefit from the assurance that their healthcare provider can see their medical history no matter where they go. This can speed up treatment and decrease the need for additional tests.
4. EHR interoperability helps healthcare providers save costs.
After investing in an interoperable EHR system, healthcare providers can save money for various reasons. First, providers won’t have to sift through paper records as often and so will be more able to provide high-quality care for all their patients. Second, providers will be able to see more patients because they’ll be able to rely on the information in the EHR system. Third, some tests and procedures could be eliminated if doctors are able to find out that they’ve already been done in the past.
5. Interoperable EHR means scalable IT infrastructure.
Many healthcare providers struggle to upgrade their EHRs because of interoperability issues between new software, which can make the process lengthier and more costly than it needs to be.
However, systems that meet EMR interoperability standards can use new tools and software modules with ease. This will help healthcare providers add remote health solutions such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RMP) to their system with fewer adjustments.
Make Your Electronic Health Record Interoperable
Contact Lifepoint Informatics today at 877.522.8378 to book a free consultation. You can also talk to us through our contact page. Give us a call and let us help you make the most of your electronic health record. To start, check our EMRHub brochure.