Top 3 Solutions for Interoperability and Senior Community EMRs

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Friday, 26 September 2014 17:56

The statistics are startling. When multiple physicians treat a patient following a hospital discharge, information is missing 78 percent of the time. Another study found 60 percent of medication errors occur during transition from one health care provider to another.

Many of these transitions occur in elder care. Senior communities, which include long-term and post-acute (LTPAC) services, are increasingly adopting electronic medical records and using tablets, cell phones, and other devices to conduct e-prescribing and documentation. However, only a small number have interoperability with other health care providers in the community, producing challenges in admissions, transfers, discharges and hospital readmissions.

Interoperability is crucial in LTPAC services because patients often have multiple health conditions and are likely to need services from multiple health care providers as well as ongoing communication among services and families.

The first solution may be to manually add data from external sources. Traditionally, providers have used faxes, emails and phone calls. Some are turning to secure text applications (see next article). While the biggest cost is the staff time to input the information, there are also opportunities for human error which can affect quality of care. As patients are referred to LTPAC services, the paper medical records may be difficult to read and understand. They may have limited space to write all of the necessary information: so details may be left out.
A second solution is to have your EMR developer build an interface to other data sources.  Since LTPAC EMRs are often distinctive, they may be different, sometimes smaller platforms than the providers who refer patients. Yet, they need to be able to receive, display, incorporate, create and transmit care records with a common dataset.

Yet a third option is to hire a local/regional third party IT consulting firm which has experience in healthcare systems. Often, these companies can design and build custom interfaces, which can eliminate manual processes.  They often have experiences with a wide range of EMRs and can plan, design, develop, construct and install a system specific to your needs.

Picking the right solution is key for quality of care, health care regulation and cost concerns. It’s important to examine all of the options and choose one which will be the best for your facility.