The implementation of web based Electronic Medical Record keeping or EMR systems is a work in progress. Most of the hospitals and healthcare centers in the country are yet to make the transition. However, experts have already started advocating the expansion of Electronic Health Records implementation and strategies for better population Health Management and Medical Billing and Practice Management. A recent report published by JASON, a research team, for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality makes a compelling case for this.
What the Report says
According to the report, there is a need for integrating the EMR database with more information collected from other diverse societal inputs to help further medical research and better population health management. This reflects what other Health IT experts have said in the recent months.
The research points to the need for setting up a ‘Learning Health System’ across the nation. The idea is to accumulate as much relevant medical data as possible on various parameters to emphasize improvements in the health and population wellness systems. The report particularly indicates the lack of a proper interlinking between the Healthcare Organizations and the Medical Research Institutions in the country.
The researchers have come to the conclusion that web based EMR software should be established in such a way that they facilitate the proper assimilation of medical records collected from patients as well as the other relevant data providing information on the demographic and environmental factors. This should be linked to the medical research data networks in fields like genomics and even, data collected from social media networks can be sustained.
The report recommends maintaining a continuous link between research and development and the field of healthcare, where these latest improvements are implemented. The researchers also advocate the need for releasing APIs in the public domain so as to facilitate the establishment of a proper software ecosystem for enabling this level of data collection and integration across the nation.
Also, such web based electronic medical records (EMRs) software should empower the patients to participate better in their own Health Management Programs by giving them access to such a vast data network of National Medical data. This is certainly the right direction for effective EHR implementation proposed by the Federal Government.
However, with so many hospitals and healthcare organizations struggling to meet the Meaningful Use objectives, the federal government might put such plans of a national population Management and Learning System on the back burner. But, once the transition from the old paper file system to cost effective EHR is achieved, it will become much easier to set up such a population Health Management Network.