Highly specialized medicine and increasing patient mobility have brought about an unprecedented interdependence in healthcare. Today’s patients are cared for by multiple specialists and any one doctor’s treatment will most certainly affect another’s domain. For the very sake of patient safety, doctors across specialties are now expected, if not required, to share information about their patients. Welcome to the New Healthcare where multiple and once disparate physicians must now communicate so as to collaborate on a patient’s overall treatment and well-being.
How can such collaboration between multiple independent doctors and their notoriously hurried schedules be accomplished? Through the new technology – the next level of EHR technology has already united the healthcare industry by providing a structure for transmitting information in a safe and effective manner. But the next level of EHR technology will go further with integrative technology that enhances the speed at which information is transmitted from one professional to the next. EHR systems that “talk” with each other will enable providers to communicate and share information in real time through a secure portal. This next generation of systems will give doctors access to a patient’s more complete health information and will avoid situations where the patient doesn’t know his or her full medical record, or has to repeat the same medical history to every physician. One physician can know what another physician’s impressions were and that physician can then add his or her notes to the record as well.
This concept of collaboration is interoperability is already underway and such testing is part of the ONC Certification testing. Development is certain to pick up speed as the concept of healthcare collaboration moves further along towards Accountable Care Organization structures. Collaboration is New Healthcare’s model. EHRs are the new technology making it possible.