AMIA: 10 recommendations for using EHRs to create an interoperable health system

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The American Medical Informatics Association released its EHR 2020 Task Force on the Status and Future Direction of EHRs report.

The report acknowledges the benefits of EHRs, including improved safety and quality in healthcare, but recognizes the potential downsides and obstacles to truly integrating this technology into healthcare. The ultimate goal behind EHRs is to create an interoperable and integrated health system. AMIA offers 10 recommendations in five areas to drive the future of EHRs.

Documentation

1. Decrease data entry burden for the clinician. Explore ways to include the entire care team, not just the physician, in documentation. Find ways to automatically capture information or allow patients to enter information themselves.

2. Separate data entry from data reporting. Allow patients, family members and care team members to enter data that will by them used to create customized reports.

3. Find ways that EHRs can enable learning and research at the point of care during routine practice. Support the study of alternative methods of data collection, such as sound recording.

Regulation

4. Clarify and simplify certification and meaningful use regulations, improve data exchange and interoperability and reduce data entry for more focus on patient outcomes.

5. Encourage reimbursement changes to drive innovation in EHRs.

Certification

6. Improve certification flexibility and transparency. More information about the certification process will spur vendor competition.

7. Healthcare providers and vendors should be transparent about unintended consequences and risk caused by health information technology systems.

Innovation

8. EHR vendors should use standards-based application programming interfaces and data standards that will allow EHRs to become more open to innovators, researchers and patients.

Patient-centric care delivery

9. Push for EHRs to be integrated into all aspects of care, beyond acute care and clinic settings. Push to include EHRs in home health, specialist care, laboratory, pharmacy, population health, long-term care and physical and behavioral therapies.

10. Improve interface designs so they support the way people think. Focus on cognitive-support design.

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