Electronic Health Records Usage Slow
The adoption of electronic health records (EHR) in nursing facilities, subacute facilities, assisted living facilities and other senior living sites has not met federal or state health department expectations.
Vendors have been working over time to develop EHR’s that they expect to be the cornerstone of health care going forward. Despite their efforts to develop new bells and whistles, new features and efficiencies the provider community has been reticent to adopt the EHR.
Providers have three real issues with developing the EHR in their facilities, money, time and resources. The cost of adopting an EHR is a major one and most providers in this sector have been excluded from the Meaningful Use financial incentives that have been made available to hospitals and physician practices. Inoperability issues, as well as concerns surrounding data security and privacy and staff shortages have slowed the adoption process. In addition to these issues is the fact that most facilities have inadequate IT infrastructures, less than required power and/or security.
The desire to reduce hospital readmissions should be a driver, as the more accurate and up-to-date the patient information is, the more proactive the provider can be. In many cases even where the EHR has been adopted by the facility the exchange of information between their EHR and the hospitals is limited or non existent. Free flow of information does not exist between these facilities and their local health information exchange. This in part is do to the inoperability between EHR’s and security concerns expressed by facilities and their residents/patients.
The good news is that exchange of information between facilities and their pharmacies is growing, reducing errors and eliminating paper at the same time. Pharma companies are developing powerful analytical components on information such as census, diagnosis or DRG’s, readmissions as well as other risk factors. These analytics are going to be instrumental in reducing hospital readmissions and making care more efficient in the facilities.
The pressure is on the industry to adopt EHR and the consensus is that while the adoption rate today is only twenty percent (20%) the adoption curve is trending upward.