From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Ron Nielson
The transition from document-based information to electronic health records has been steadily underway for some time.
As health care organizations continue to implement such technologies to meet government regulations and improve interoperability across internal departments and external organizations, they are finding themselves challenged with providing the same high level of care and remaining attentive to patients’ overall health needs. As providers come closer to achieving full interoperability by leveraging practices that enable the ability to capture, transform and manage information — also known as information mobility — they will see significant benefits in an improved patient experience, along with meaningful use of electronic records and accountable care gains.
Health care organizations are achieving information mobility today by taking advantage of the latest technology advancements. Immediate access to patient data will help to ensure consistency in treatment, reduce duplication in services and medical errors, and provide more efficient care. According to a Harris Poll survey commissioned by Ricoh, hospitals that use tablets or other mobile devices to collect information from patients are seen as more efficient than those that don’t (74 percent). With greater access to the most up-to-date medical records, health care providers can better diagnose and treat their patients, helping them to achieve meaningful use and accountable care goals.
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Few things frustrate patients more than having to complete the same paperwork and answer the same questions multiple times. Unfortunately, many health care providers still do not have the infrastructure in place to communicate records smoothly, resulting in repetition for the patient. According to the same Harris Poll, 77 percent of Americans perceive that hospitals are drowning in paperwork, which cuts into time health care workers can spend with patients.
Hospitals with information mobility practices in place can minimize paperwork requirements for patients and providers, and enable doctors and staff to do what they do best. If a doctor receives a patient’s complete medical history at the outset of an appointment, he can spend less time during the visit asking questions and more time focusing on improving the patient’s condition. A complete electronic health record and the interoperability to communicate this record across internal departments enables the doctor to use the patient’s data in meaningful ways to get to the root of the patient’s condition quickly and diagnose and treat accordingly.