Electronic health records (EHRs) were meant to improve healthcare processes and serve patients. In the study conducted by Yale, healthcare professionals gave EHR systems a usability score of 45, which is even less than Excel’s 57. The same Yale-led study discovered that EHRs are also contributing to doctors’ burnout. What’s the reason for these deadly results?
The US HITECH Act of 2009 was well-intentioned, but it pushed healthcare providers to adopt unknown and complicated technology as quickly as possible. As a result, the healthcare industry is increasingly experiencing security and workflow issues, leading to frustrated clinicians and dissatisfied patients.
This is why C-level managers of healthcare software development company hesitate to change their EHR systems.
Why Develop a Custom EHR?
A modern EHR might contain features for chronic disease management, behavioral health support, e-prescribing, and surgery preparation. It might even provide drug diversion tools to ensure proper prescribing methods.
Developing a custom EHR empowers you to pick the features needed by your practice. At the same time, you don’t have to implement unnecessary functionality that will confuse your employees and cause them to get lost in a mind-blowing assortment of options.
Timely Improvements and Quick Support
According to some users’ complaints, Epic customer support is not very responsive to improvement requests regarding simple tasks that could be performed easier by adding a button or checkbox in specific areas. Downtime for the service might also be problematic if maintenance needs to be done during work hours.
When developing custom software with a development partner, you can expect thorough initial research and testing of features by end-users along with the collection, analysis, and implementation of improvement requests.
When building Healthfully, we established a process for collecting feedback regarding features under test and providing prompt fixes, as the functionality we were developing was urgent for our client.
Your software development company India partner can also offer to train your staff and ensure further support and maintenance. And in case you have requirements for urgent new functionality, your partner will be there for you.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Healthfully needed back-to-work, back-to-school, and telehealth functionality. We implemented all these features in record time. You can check out how we implemented telehealth functionality in Healthfully within two weeks in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
EHR System Development: Where To Start?
These three steps will help you overcome your most burning healthcare business challenges with an EHR app.
Define your strategic goal. For example, if your goal is to reduce patient turnaround times, you might consider integrating an appointment scheduling feature, video chat, etc.
Talk to your users about their needs. Your clinical staff, patients, and even insurance providers can provide you with valuable insights into how to refine your software.
Document your requirements. Once you’ve defined your strategic goals and your users’ needs, you can transform them into business requirements, based on which you can prepare a functional specification. Your technology partner can help you with this.
Let’s see what needs and objectives your EHR app should cover.
Minimizing Paperwork and Optimizing Data Entry
While doctors can obtain some information directly from different sources, they still have to enter or upload data to an EHR. That’s where human errors might occur. Sometimes, EHRs even contribute to the appearance of errors.
Here’s How an EHR Can Minimize The Possibility of Errors:
- Data entry
There might be cases when a patient is weighed in pounds but the data has to be inserted into the EHR system in kilograms. To ensure accuracy, units must be clear in the interface. The general principle of the data entry process is simplicity and data consistency.
- Precise editing
Copying and pasting is an important functionality that cuts time and cognitive burden for healthcare specialists. However, poorly implemented copy-paste functionality can pose risks to patients. Users might fail to check and edit data, as an EHR doesn’t help them do that. To enable users to spot inaccurate information, an EHR might ensure:
- Automatic data updates
An EHR may automatically update notes with current vital signs and test results. Displaying the name of the author on all notes can help doctors see whether or not a recent note has been updated from a previous version. The author’s name can remain the same if the note is copied with no revisions but change if another doctor reviews and edits it.
- Сentralized data matching system
A centralized data matching system automates record de-duplication and data integrity. An efficient enterprise master patient index (EMPI) is essential in providing a smooth data flow from provider to provider. EMPIs that use location intelligence and geocoding to check addresses help healthcare providers standardize and authenticate addresses in real-time. This helps to avoid risks related to duplicate records and detect fraud.
- Searchability, advanced decision support, and reporting
To let your users build queries for both structured and unstructured data, you need to use a search engine that can handle unstructured documents, offers a flexible API, and is highly configurable and scalable — Elasticsearch, for example.
It’s also advisable to present the results of treatment and whole treatment processes in progress dashboards, giving information in an easy-to-understand format.
Your product should be equipped with a powerful analytics and reporting framework capable of generating all types of medical reports to help you meet your business goals and provide the best service.
- Improving customer engagement and providing transparency
When wisely implemented, patient engagement features benefit patients by putting them in control of their health and benefit clinicians by giving them more time to focus on patient care. A patient portal can lead to a high level of patient engagement. Let’s see what a helpful patient portal should include to improve the user experience and increase patient loyalty.
- Appointment scheduling
Online appointment scheduling not only greatly increases patient satisfaction but also saves time for your staff, letting them spend less time on phone calls and focus on more important tasks. What’s more, by integrating your app with push notifications or simple SMS reminders, you can significantly reduce the number of no-shows, which is bound to increase your revenue.
- Access to lab results and medication records
Your lab integration module should automatically upload lab results to the system and make them available to both doctors and patients. What’s more, it should show explanatory notes next to each result. This will help doctors and patients quickly understand which results are within and outside the norm.
- Enabling adequate data protection
The HIPAA Security Rule requires all healthcare providers to take physical, administrative, and technological measures to protect private information. For EHR systems, this means providing access controls, data encryption, audit controls, activity logs, etc. Check the details of these security measures in our article on steps to take to become HIPAA-compliant.