The EHR's evolution to an electronic health plan

The EHR is undergoing an evolution, one that is transforming electronic record platforms from a host of patient data to a long-term care plan.

John Glaser, PhD, senior vice president of Cerner, discussed the electronic health plan in a piece for H&HN. He wrote that while the healthcare industry has made significant strides in EHR adoption, use and patient engagement with their care, they are too focused on being a record of data.

"Provider organizations will not thrive in an era of health reform simply because they have a superb and interoperable electronic health record," Dr. Glaser wrote. "They will thrive because the care they deliver consistently follows a plan designed to ensure desired outcomes. The EHR must evolve so that it focuses on an individual patient's care plans — the steps required to maintain or create health."

He suggested each patient's EHR should display a master care plan, a long-term plan to maintain health coupled with any short-term plans for current conditions.

This plan-centric EHR should have several key characteristics, Dr. Glaser wrote. First, it will include a variety of plans to cover a number of situations, and those plans will be malleable so they can be tailored to individuals.

Secondly, the electronic health plan will use an algorithm to develop a patient's master plan.

The plan should be team-based and integrate providers across the care continuum, which includes interoperable approaches to cross care setting and geographic boundaries.

Decision support and workflow logic would remind providers of upcoming activities and modify the plan in accordance with patient status changes.

While providers will still need the traditional functions of the EHR, like viewing lab reports and documenting patient history, Dr. Glaser wrote the shift to a plan-centric record is already afoot with the integration of population health management tools and evidence-based decision support solutions.

"The shift is underway. The electronic health record does not disappear as a result of this shift, but the strategic emphasis will move to technologies and applications that assist the care team (including the patient) in developing and managing the longitudinal, cross-venue health plan and assessing the outcomes of that plan," he wrote.

More articles on EHRs:

Hospital groups urge HHS to finalize MU Stage 2 rules
Study reveals discrepancy between pharmacy claims data, EHR data
Extending MU incentives may boost EHR adoption

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