'Future of patient health records is not merely electronic,' Epic exec says

The future of electronic health record keeping is moving beyond a digital filing cabinet for patient records and becoming  a system that considers the whole patient picture, writes Josh Holzbauer, head of physician well-being for Epic, in a LinkedIn blog post.

"The future of patient health records is not merely electronic. It’s predictive, agile, mobile and very personal. Most of all, it’s comprehensive," Mr. Holzbauer writes, dubbing the future EHR a CHR — comprehensive health record.

Here are five aspects Mr. Holzhauer said physicians can expect to see in the CHR of the future:

1. The CHR will follow patients wherever they recieve care and create "one virtual system" accessible worldwide. External data will be automatically sent to the chart to close any gaps in care, and patients will be given a combined view of their healthcare record from one portal.

2. The CHR will enhance patient safety by balancing standardized care plans with personalized ones derived from patients' unique social determinants of health and industry advancements in genomics-based medicine.  

3. Equipped with improved algorithms, teams will be able to measure the successes of their interventions and suggest proper outreach programs for each patient.

4. Data from patient monitoring devices will be integratable, which will only continue telemedicine's rapid growth. Tools such as natural language processing, machine learning and predictive analytics will become vital. Clinicians will be able to personalize  technology to meet their unique styles of practice and streamline their workflows.

5. Voice recognition tools — ranging from those that can replace keyboard interactions with voice orders to  ambient recording devices that can capture the entire physician-patient conversation — are advancing and proving their value as physicians begin to use a combination of desktop computers, mobile devices and wall-mounted screens to record and explain patient data.

To make this vision a reality, Mr. Holzbauer laid out six steps for healthcare organizations:

1. Help patients realize the value in sharing their genomic and social determinants of health data.

2. Expand virtual patient touch points, such as online scheduling, filling out electronic questionnaires and using telehealth.

3. Establish a culture that embraces and promotes change.

4. Revise governance structures to help put new tools in physician’s hands more quickly.

5. Stay up to date with federal and state agencies and guidelines.

6. Adopt existing standardized codes or collaborate with peers to create new standards.

"Achieving this vision is possible, but we must work together to overcome the hurdles," Mr. Holzbauer writes. "No doubt this will be a difficult undertaking. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way."

Click here to read Mr. Holzbauer's complete post.

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