Healthcare News & Insights

4 EHR trends to watch in 2016

Electronic health records (EHR) systems have come a long way over the past few years. And there are several more advancements in the pipeline that hospitals should keep their eyes on in 2016. 

As hospitals continue to upgrade their EHRs to meet the demands of meaningful use requirements and value-based care initiatives, they may want to incorporate some of these elements into their systems.

Here’s why, according to an article from Healthcare IT News: The latest updates are more user-friendly for both clinicians and patients.

Doctors and nurses have been asking for EHRs that make their lives simpler instead of more burdensome, and the newest technology focuses more on their needs.

Plus, patients want better access to their health information – and an easier way to communicate with their providers. More and more EHR systems will offer them these capabilities.

What’s coming

Four key trends will drive the expansion of EHRs in 2016, according to Cathy Reisenwitz from Capterra, a business software firm, who was quoted in the Healthcare IT News article. Here they are:

  1. More EHRs will be on the cloud. Many industries are making the switch to software applications on the cloud. And health care is no exception. EHRs on the cloud are less expensive for facilities to implement and update, since they aren’t constantly spending money on new hardware. With that in mind, more vendors will be offering EHR cloud services.
  2. EHRs will have better patient portals. Patients are interested in using portals in various ways. Whether it’s to follow up with their providers, pay bills or find out other critical information, patients enjoy the convenience of logging into a centralized portal. While they’re more commonly seen in physician practices, hospitals can also use patient portals for communication. Look for big upgrades to these portals in 2016 – including more features that’ll allow patients to record their own health information.
  3. Telehealth will grow. Your specialists may be doing consults with patients prior to surgery using telehealth technology. According to Healthcare IT News, the market for telemedicine is expected to hit over $30 billion dollars by the end of the decade. Major payors have eased the requirements to provide telehealth services. And with the growth of the senior population, who can’t always leave their homes for evaluation, telemedicine is expected to become more popular this year.
  4. EHRs will become mobile friendly. Clinicians want EHRs they can access from mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. When they’re making patient rounds, they don’t want to be tied down to a computer screen. To fulfill this desire, many EHRs will update their interfaces to be mobile friendly, leading to more convenience for doctors and nurses.

Security concerns

While these trends will dominate the new year, there’s one big threat surrounding these advances in EHR technology: cybersecurity.

Keeping data secure is especially important when accessing health information on a personal smartphone or using an EHR that stores all patient data in the cloud.

With that in mind, all security protocol must be followed meticulously when implementing new EHR upgrades or features, and any risks should be documented and addressed in your hospital’s HIPAA risk assessment.

Be sure your vendor contracts have clear language that states the vendor’s responsibility in case of a data breach, along with the steps you both will take to resolve any problems.

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