When today’s Healthcare Industry is becoming increasingly data-driven, it becomes apparent that a simple EHR system is not enough to manage clinical, patient and administrative information.
Today’s Healthcare industry is changing and dealing with challenges such as increasing costs, deficit of skilled employees, warring quality of services, increasing demand for value, and a growing amount of data. To keep up with these changes and to deliver optimized services – whether clinical, patient, and financial – healthcare organizations need to manage their information more strategically.
So You Have an EHR?
One would think that implementing a EMR/EHR system should be enough to manage their information, but upon closer look up to 80% of the data stored into these systems is unstructured (such as clinical images, digital photos, scanned documents, email/fax), which result in incomplete patient records (usually only 25 to 50% of a patient’s health information is available in a EMR system), a scattered clinical documentation, and an intricate administration.
Typically, Electronic Health Records systems fall short in the following categories:
- Search capabilities: information is stored and isolated in multiple and unconnected data silos. As a result that information become hard to track and is often lost, which make for instance the research of a patient’s x-ray difficult (to near impossible) for a clinician.
- Sharing functionalities: goes in pair with the lack of search capabilities as well as the lack of facility for electronic sharing.
- Format support: health information usually come in various format (scanned documents, correspondence, digital photos, etc., which are not all supported by a EHR system.
- Back-end systems integration: no integration with other back-office systems (mailroom, payment department, claim department, to only cite a few).
- Mobility: with the rise of mHealth (mobile technologies used for healthcare) and the IoT (Internet of Things), EHR systems, which are not mobile enabled, are lagging behind.
In such a crucial time where the Healthcare Industry is moving into a data-driven era, the urge for comprehensive health records is becoming a priority. As Marc O’Regan, CTO at EMC, said “It is no longer simply acceptable to store healthcare data”. Today and especially tomorrow, functionalities such as document lifecycle, workflow intelligence, digital capture, metadata classification and automatic archiving are not and will not be a commodity, but a necessity. Does that seem difficult? You may want to rethink your organization’s system as all of these features can be easily implemented with an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) system.
ECM, A Much Needed Remedy
Before anything, be mindful of the fact that an ECM will not replace your EHR system, but is rather meant to work in conjunction with your EHR system by acting as a bridge technology. In particular, implementing an ECM system will impact your organization in the following ways:
- Process automation: save on time, costs and deliver around-the-clock services thanks to ECM’s workflow technology, which enables your organization to automatically process patient, staff, and administrative information.
- Compliance: bringing on board audit trails, security levels, automatic archiving and purging, an ECM solution help you organization to stay compliant with healthcare and federal regulations.
- Web access: enable your staff to access any information stored in your ECM system securely and from anywhere through web access, improving and accelerating patient diagnosis and care.
- Capture Solution: scanning and capture applications convert paper-based documentation into electronic files, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) generate searchable metadata that enable the automatic classification of these electronic files in a unified repository. A Mobile Capure Solution (when capture is done through mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc.) is also most useful for nurses and physicians to gather point-of-care information, conduct remote patient diagnostic/record access, etc.
- Multi-format support: an ECM system can support almost any type of data. Make sure when choosing one to thoroughly check if the document type you use are supported.
All in all, upon implementation an ECM system will help healthcare organizations to build a smarter healthcare system that optimize outcomes, deliver better patient care and service, streamline administrative and care processes and analysis, and provide real-time insight on the organizational performance.