Usability: Why Electronic Patient Records Can and Should Do More?

Usability: Why Electronic Patient Records Can and Should Do More?

By substituting modern digital platforms for storing and managing patient data for antiquated paper-based methods, electronic patient records (EPRs) have transformed the healthcare sector. EPRs provide many advantages, including better data accuracy, streamlined workflows, and improved patient care. EPRs do, however, have unrealized potential that could further alter how healthcare is delivered. The numerous ways that EPRs can and should improve usability and optimize their impact on patient care are explored in this article. 

Electronic Patient Records (ERPs) have evolved

Since its creation, EPRs have advanced significantly. They were first mainly used for keeping track of patient characteristics and medical histories. However, technological developments have broadened the application of EPRs by enabling the integration of numerous data sources, such as lab findings, imaging reports, and medication records. The groundwork for EPRs to play a more extensive role in healthcare has been set by this evolution.

Current Electronic Patient Records Usability Issues 

Current Electronic Patient Records Usability Issues 

EPRs have the potential to be extremely effective, however, usability issues prevent this from happening. The smooth transmission of information and interoperability across healthcare providers can be hampered by problems including difficult user interfaces, a lack of compatibility between various systems, and restricted accessibility for patients and carers. These difficulties must be overcome in order to realize the full potential of EPRs. 

Enhanced Interoperability: Healthcare Connecting the Dots

For EPRs to reach their full potential, interoperability is essential. EPRs can facilitate effective communication and information sharing between healthcare practitioners, enabling a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s medical history, by establishing standard data exchange procedures and seamless connection with other healthcare systems. This link encourages improved care coordination, lowers medical mistakes, and enhances patient outcomes.

Giving patients and medical professionals more power would improve accessibility

In EPRs, accessibility should be prioritized above all else to benefit both patients and medical practitioners. Utilizing user-friendly mobile applications and interfaces, patients can quickly access their medical records, see test results, and contact their healthcare team. Real-time access to patient data can also aid decision-making and improve collaboration among medical specialists.

Leveraging Enhanced Data Analytics Insights to Enhance Healthcare

Massive amounts of data generated by EPRs can be used to enhance medical outcomes. Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms can process this data to identify trends, predict health risks, and support tailored treatment plans. By utilizing the power of data analytics, EPRs can provide significant insights that assist evidence-based decision-making and encourage proactive patient care

Decision-Making Support Systems for Clinical Decision-Making

EPRs can do more than just store data; they can also provide solutions that aid in therapeutic decision-making for healthcare providers. Clinical best practices and recommendations can be included in EPRs to provide real-time alerts, reminders, and suggestions, ensuring that healthcare providers always have the most up-to-date information available. This integration can lower medical mistakes, improve treatment plans, and boost diagnostic precision.

Integration with remote patient monitoring and telemedicine 

EPRs’ capabilities may be increased through integration with telemedicine and remote patient monitoring platforms. Healthcare providers can give remote consultations, remotely monitor patients’ vital signs, and provide individualized care outside of typical healthcare venues by integrating EPRs with virtual care systems. This integration encourages patient comfort, improves accessibility to healthcare, and lessens the demand for the system’s resources. 

Increasing Patient Self-Management and Engagement 

Increasing Patient Self-Management and Engagement 

By encouraging active patient engagement and encouraging self-management of health issues, EPRs have the potential to completely alter the patient-provider relationship. Patients may review their medical information, access instructional materials, and keep track of how well they’re doing thanks to secure access to their EPRs. Through secure messaging platforms, EPRs may let patients and providers communicate, enabling patients to conveniently ask inquiries, request prescription refills, or make appointment requests. EPRs can improve patient satisfaction, health outcomes, and the collaborative nature of healthcare by actively incorporating people into their care. 

Increasing Security and Privacy Measures

EPR adoption is hindered by serious privacy and security issues. Strong privacy and security measures need to be in place if you want to win over patients’ trust and guarantee the confidentiality of their private health information. Strict data protection standards, such as encryption, access controls, audit trails, and frequent security audits, should be followed by EPR systems. It is crucial to abide by laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). To guarantee that patients are informed of how their data will be used and shared, transparent permission procedures should be put in place. By placing a high priority on privacy and security, EPRs can allay concerns and increase patient and healthcare provider confidence. 

Getting Rid of Obstacles to Implementation and Adoption 

EPRs have clear advantages, but there are obstacles to their widespread adoption and deployment. Progress might be hampered by financial limitations, technical difficulties, and reluctance to change within the healthcare organization. Data sharing and cooperation may be hampered by interoperability problems between various EPR systems and diverse healthcare IT infrastructures. A multifaceted strategy, involving monetary investments, stakeholder participation, effective change management tactics, and standardized data interchange protocols, is needed to overcome these obstacles. To enable the smooth introduction and wide adoption of EPRs, collaboration between healthcare organizations, policymakers, and technology vendors is essential. 

Conclusion

Healthcare delivery has been changed by electronic patient records, yet these records’ potential is greater than what is currently possible. EPRs may realize their full potential and revolutionize healthcare by addressing usability issues, boosting interoperability, increasing accessibility, utilizing data analytics, offering decision help, connecting with telemedicine, and arming patients. The promise of EPRs can only be realized by enhancing privacy and security protections and removing implementation obstacles. To develop EPR systems that genuinely modernize patient care, enhance outcomes, and boost efficiency in the healthcare sector, stakeholders must work together and embrace innovation as technology advances. 

Reference

  1. Using Electronic Health Record Portals to Improve Patient Engagement: Research Priorities and Best Practices: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32479176/
  2. The use of Electronic Health Records to Support Population Health: A Systematic Review of the Literature: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30269237/
  3. Usability Evaluation of Electronic Health Record System around Clinical Notes Usage–An Ethnographic Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802313/
  4. Usability of Electronic Health Record-Generated Discharge Summaries: Heuristic Evaluation: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33856353/