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Wikipedia defines an electric health record (EHR) as: “An evolving concept defined as a systematic collection of electronic health information about individual patients or populations. It is a record in digital format that is theoretically capable of being shared across different health care settings.” The power and potential of EHRs has yet to be fully tapped, but expect to see a lot of movement in this space over the next few years. Tyze’s Project Manager, Mona Mok, recently attended a seminar discussing the future of Electronic Health Records (EHR). She shares some of her observations in this blog post. The electronic health records (EHR, EMR, PHR) software space is large and still in the growth phase. Organizations must balance their yearly capital cost budgets with the latest sexy software, which can often leave patient care as an ‘on the roadmap’ feature to be implemented 5 to 10 years later. This was my main takeaway when I attended the BC Health Information Management Professionals Society Education Forum in October 2011.  My other takeaway was that women are playing a major role in the management and implementation and of these large health records systems, with growing roles as Directors and Managers of IT divisions to  business analysts and project managers. Challenges: – Software adoption lags because the primary user was inaccurately identified and not communicated to – Organizations need to prioritize and identify which compliancy regulations the EHR systems must adhere to – Low EMR adoption by single General Practitioner clinics that don’t find expensive systems necessarily to improve patient care – High security requirements are slowing down the development and accessibility for patients accessing their own data. Patient access is typically viewed as a (much) later stage functionality Successes: – When the correct primary user is identified and communicated with, adoption soars – Working with the primary user to standardize nomenclature ensures consistency of language between software and clinical practice and supports increased adoption – EHR systems can be a great opportunity to reduce forms and retire legacy systems. One system reduced the number of forms from 214 to 7 and retired 40 legacy systems! The fact that nurses are turning into Business Analysts and Managers of IT divisions demonstrates the value of the practitioner’s experience. Health informatics is going to be a huge part of any EHR implementation as it will demonstrate the return on investment as well as inform patient care practices. Health information managers can expect to see immense growth thanks to its potential to display filtered data to patients. However,  getting the remaining 50% of BC’s doctors to hop onto the EMR bandwagon may be easier said than done. What do you think? We’d love to hear your comments.    

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