Department of Veterans Affairs

Improve User Experience with Electronic Heath Record saves $$

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Revolutionize healthcare by improving how data is captured into Electronic Health Records(EHRs), saving millions of lives and dollars. The future of healthcare depends on EHRs, yet we cannot unleash their potential power until they are more useable. All EHR users should have many efficient options for inputing clinical data. Laborious typing and clicking is no longer the only option. Dictation technologies and even digital pens/tablets that allow data to be written in script are now available. All data could be accompanied by tags (XML) that would allow it to be reused for other purposes. Want to sort patients with certain characteristics to evaluate treatment options? Want to manipulate data that you have entered into the EHR? Enhanced functionality is the answer. Tagged data is essential for these advanced functions and the lack of tags is preventing EHRs from doing what they were designed to do: improve patient care, enhance decision-making, and allow outcome measurements. These new data capture methods are clinically intuitive, quicker and more accurate. The VA’s Dr. Weinger insists, “Taking the data elements in a paper-based healthcare system and computerizing them is unlikely to create an efficient and effective paperless system. The reason is designers do not fully understand how the paper actually supports users’ cognitive needs. Computer displays are not yet as portable, flexible or well-designed as paper.” (Health Information Technology: Fallacy and Sober Realities, JAMIA 2010 17: 617-623). Why not let paper and computer work together, with the interface the user prefers? Capitalizing on enhanced digital, computable, data capture will not just save countless hours and millions of dollars, but will allow us to share and re-use health data, improving the quality of care at every level. Before healthcare can look to the future, its EHRs must first catch up to the present, by embracing the latest data capture technologies. Our health depends on it.

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Idea No. 7138