EHR Mastery Proves Elusive for Many

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2 residentsThey never said navigating the electronic medical record landscape would be easy — at least not at first.

And as new regulations from both federal and state spheres begin to tighten their hold around the industry, the valleys of EHR adoption and EHR mastery are sure to only become more congested and therein, even harder to get a handle on. 

Fortunately, current EHR veterans saw it coming and set out early with open minds — ready to note and reroute the process wherever necessary — and are now reporting back at last on the troubles and tricks that arise when dealing with digitized data.

Panelists on deck in Boston for the recent Health IT Summit session titled "EHR Data: A Touchstone for Quality Care" had plenty of diverging facets to share on the topic of EHR integration, but one primary point remained: We are all in this together.

“For things like this, I think all doctors are created equal,” said Jonathan Leviss, MD, chief medical officer for Rhode Island Quality Institute, a physician for Thunder mist Health Center and a clinical assistant professor for Alpert Medical School and Brown University.

“The one thing that I’ve learned most importantly is that these are team-based efforts,” he continued.

“We’re talking about getting data out of electronic health records, out of different HIT systems, to drive quality initiatives, which requires us to look at data in a way that an individual person can’t, the individual brain, whether that’s a physician, a nurse or a quality person.”

Beyond that need for a pack mentality in the EMR stratosphere, Reid Coleman, MD, chief medical information officer for evidence-based medicine, Nuance Communications, spoke of the importance of roles distributed to people who both know the importance of data and who want to be strictly involved in the pursuit of it.

“Unfortunately, we started to lean too far in one direction in turning clinicians into data-entry technicians, which clinicians don’t do well, which I think is important and they don’t like doing, which is equally important,” Coleman said.

“One of the big challenges that we face is finding a way to let the clinicians do what they do best, which is tell the patient’s story and explain their understanding of both the patient condition and plans for treatment and then use tools to take that and turn it into usable data.

And boy, do we need the data — we need the data for analytics and from my perspective, to trigger workflows, to set people down the right path based on what the clinician has said about the patient.”

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