Digitalising internal and external hospital processes for better healthcare delivery

The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is defined as a longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting, according to the HIMSS Health Information and Technology Resource Library. Included in this information are patient demographics, progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunisations, laboratory data and radiology reports. 

The EHR automates and streamlines the clinician’s workflow and its adoption can be a means in which hospitals and healthcare organisations tap on to improve healthcare delivery by capturing structured healthcare information. However, different hospitals or healthcare organisations can have very varied budgets and approaches to EHR adoption or even improvement. Mr Heungro Lee, who is in charge of healthcare strategy as a partner at VAIIM Consulting Group, highlighted some key considerations for healthcare organisations and hospitals in their approaches to EHR adoption: 

“Decision making is always difficult. But with a well-designed decision making process, the journey might be easier. The first step for EHR adoption for these organisations is to define what their constraints are, be it availability of budget, timelines to meet or the internal manpower resources required. 

The next step is to prioritise the goals to achieve and these could be process standardisation, improving patient care and monitoring and managing hospital’s performance, etc. The final step is to source out feasible options based on the previous two steps. From my experience, most hospitals tend to make the mistake of selecting infeasible options despite knowing their constraints. Sometimes, seeking a third party’s advice who is in a neutral position would be useful.”

Lee also added that in South Korea, most tertiary hospitals are considering renovating their first generation EHRs from just supporting general operations and daily tasks to enhancing patient care with adopting a clinical decision support system (CDSS), closed loop medication administration(CLMA), and various advanced functions. Another observation is the EHR’s expandability to connect various outbound smart solutions, mobile applications and AI software.

As mentioned earlier, EHR adoption is one method in which healthcare organisations or hospitals can improve healthcare delivery and operations. For instance, a major client in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adopted ezCaretech’s BESTCare EHR solution four years ago, which allowed them to standardise their processes in all six of their hospitals and monitor their performance in real time with a centralised architecture. They also achieved improved patient care while minimising their total cost ownership (TCO). 

On the developments in healthcare technologies in coming years, Lee said that within the next five to ten years, the application of AI software in healthcare will critically impact hospital operations in areas such as the patients’ visit process, clinical processes and backend operations’ processes.

Heungro Lee is a track keynote speaker for the session titled “Benefits of EHR Adoption” on the value-based care track (sponsored by ezCaretech) at the upcoming HIMSS AsiaPac19 conference happening from 7-10 October at Bangkok Thailand. Registration for the conference is open and more details can be found here.

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