Ambulatory EHR Integration: Tapping the Potential of Outpatient Data for Population Health Success

Abhinav Shashank
Thu 22 Feb 2018
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With an increased focus on Triple Aim, a healthcare overhaul is in process. An aggressive expansion of data is taking place, but the focus still lies majorly on integrating inpatient data. While inpatient data has served as the primary source for patient information, ambulatory visits make up for 41 out of 100 visits to the care facilities. Integrating the two facets is thus essential to get a better understanding of measures such as wellness and prevention, diagnosis, treatments among others.

What is the fuss about integrating ambulatory EHR data?

Ambulatory EHRs will continue to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.3% in the next five years, and this rate is expected to expand by 30 percent by 2020.

As a patient transverses through the care continuum, the data flow in all the EHRs should be seamless to facilitate true patient-centric care. Effectively using ambulatory EHRs can help in efficient tracking of patient data and improve the clinical quality, as they also contain information such as demographic data, care history, prescription data, laboratory results, vital signs, progress notes, and more.

A patient should be at the focal point of the care imparted in order to make a decisive impact in a shorter span of time. For instance, consider a woman who has blood clots and is given medication for thinning blood, but what if she has been prohibited from using certain medications that might cause side-effects? Even worse, what if she is prescribed that medication because the PCP had no prior knowledge of her condition? Such information will not always be available but have to be brought in through the integration of ambulatory EHRs.

Why is it a challenge to integrate outpatient data?

More often than not, different organizations use different EHRs tailored to their specific needs. Having multiple EHRs can affect the performance of the network in more than one ways, while significantly impacting the patient-care efficiency. Delivering care across continuum requires providers to be familiar with their EHRs, and even a slight change in the transport mechanism of a particular data type requires a different process for information flow.

What lies beyond integration?

Once all the data is integrated, it is ripe for innovation. With holistic data on each patient, comprehensive patient profiles in a single screen-view can make the life of care team easier. They can access all the information such as episodes, surgeries, allergies, and others to easily understand the health status of the population.

Based on the data gathered from multiple sources, predictive analytics can be leveraged to deliver information to providers on patients who are more likely to fall sick and suggestions on how the outcomes can be enhanced.

Since ambulatory EHRs have crucial information on staffing, robust data analytics will allow leaders to pinpoint problematic areas which could be draining resources and also look at variances in staffing. Leaders can also be empowered with comparison charts on physician performances and service costs to make smarter contracting decisions for a better ROI.

One of the greatest advantages of ambulatory EHR integration is that it eliminates the need for paperwork and the enabling of interoperability between systems. This helps in ensuring seamless mobility and access of data to providers anywhere, anytime.

The Road Ahead

Healthcare is undergoing a major transformation. With innovative disruptions in healthcare, we are evolving to a more patient-centric model from a disease-centric one. Data integration is the first step to embrace technology for a more streamlined care continuum. This data can be the guiding light to a cost-effective care roadmap. The revolution of care will bring providers closer to patients and what needs to be done, would be done in time.

Health IT innovations such as this provide the lens so physicians, hospitals, and others can see the healthcare highway clearly.

To learn how you can integrate ambulatory EHRs to create maximum impact at population health, get a demo.

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Tags: Healthcare, Integration, PHM
Abhinav Shashank
Ambulatory EHR Integration: Tapping the Potential of Outpatient Data for Population Health Success

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