Even though the healthcare industry is working hard to provide efficient patient care, many experts in the industry believe that the level of EHR adoption in the industry is not as expected and may not be able to support the best care for patients.
The advocates of population health and analytics are talking about implementing next generation EHR software and technology. However, this is to push the sales of the new technology in the industry, as the electronic health records (EHR) software technology has already been widespread. One of the industry experts, Nancy Fabozzi, who is the Principal Analyst of Connected Health at Frost and Sullivan says, “The industry likes to talk a big talk around that because they want to sell the next-generation solution with EHRs already having been sold.” She further adds, “The vast majority of providers are thinking of analytics, but it’s really all business intelligence using Microsoft — that’s what they have been doing.”
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have set deadlines and implemented the plans of EHR incentive programs of Stage 2 and Stage 3 of meaningful use. Fabozzi says, “That’s where we are going to see the pushback in meaningful use.” She has a few reasons to support her views. She says, “First of all, nobody believes that these penalties will be enacted. We have adopted these tools and spent all this money to get them.”
Even though many providers have been successful in providing value-added care, majority of the providers are still working for implementing EHR software and IT infrastructure developments. Fabozzi is of the view that this implementation may not take place soon. She says, “It’s not going to be next year or the next two years. We’re talking about this transition period of five years. It is going to take providers much longer to move along this path, where ultimately it’s going.”
In the meantime, physicians, hospitals and health systems should optimize their EHR software technology and make it work efficiently for providing better care for patients. Fabozzi adds, “The day-to-day work of getting EHRs used and useable — functioning and working the way they need to be able to provide care today and meet meaningful use — is a very time-consuming task.”
If these observations become true, it could take much longer for a complete EHR adoption and we are yet to find out how this is going to affect patient care.