EMRs could do more to improve patient care coordination if their design was better tailored to do so, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, reports FierceEMR.
The article, whose authors hail from RAND Corp., Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, notes that coordinating patient care currently calls for pulling together scattered information, calling for a major investment of time and effort. And while EMRs could theoretically help, they’re not designed to do so at present, the JAMIA piece argues.
The article recommends the following changes to make EMRs better capable of supporting patient care coordination, FierceEMR notes:
- Improving the ability of an EHR to support national lookups of the contact information of providers, possibly with the integration of EHRs with the National Provider Identifier (NPI) registry
- Improving the capability to send requests for collaboration to other providers, with scheduling wizards and the option to label a request as urgent
- Improving messaging and communication tools, such as voice mail, text chat, and conferencing
- Improving tools that track providers’ responsibilities for ongoing care, such as “dropping the baton” alerts.
As the FierceEMR piece points out, the more advanced stages of Meaningful Use will require greater care coordination capabilities. Not only that, with ACOs potentially forming the backbone of next-generation healthcare delivery, coordination across multiple providers and institutions has never been more important.
All told, EMR vendors are well-advised to begin creating robust care coordination functions within their products today. Those who do are likely to see a market advantage quickly.