Care coordination, quality measurement, patient engagement, and population health management are just a few of the reasons healthcare organizations use electronic health records (EHR). And nurses are at the forefront of carrying out these important goals.
Because accountable care organizations (ACO) rely on successful outcomes for reimbursement, EHR has become more important than ever. National policies support the use of health IT and new healthcare payment and delivery reform, such as ACOs and patient-centered medical homes (PCMH)—a care delivery model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible, and focused on quality and safety.
A group of researchers examined how ACOs and PCMHs used their EHRs for 14 specific processes in those four categories (care coordination, quality measurement, patient engagement, and population health management.) They found that those factors were independently associated with better success: Clinicians who were using EHRs in combination with participation in ACO or PCMH initiatives had the highest likelihood of routinely performing the care processes.
There was strong physician participation in initiatives to support health IT adoption and to reform healthcare payment and delivery, the researchers found. But evidence on whether provider participation in these initiatives has translated to better care delivery is just beginning to emerge.
Healthcare providers are most likely to use IT-enabled care delivery improvements when practicing in a payment environment that incentivizes and supports such care, such as ACOs and PCMHs.
Although healthcare organizations using EHRs and participating in new models of payment and care delivery were more likely to experience improved healthcare outcomes, according to the study most facilities were not routinely performing specific population management and quality measurement processes, such as creating patient lists or reports on quality measures. Doing so can go a long way in improving outcomes and increasing reimbursement.
Challenges include evolving interoperability standards, pressures that reinforce fragmentation in the healthcare system and inhibit collaboration, and limited access to claims and clinical data across settings and sources. In the midst of the Affordable Care Act, stakeholders must come together to ensure providers have access to the information, tools, and services they need to succeed in the ACO and PCMH environment. To deliver a comprehensive view of the patient and enable strong care coordination, EHR and other technology tools must be supported by a broad information infrastructure that ties together collaborating organizations.
While there is widespread consensus that IT solutions are critical to facilitating accountable care, providers, patients, payers and government entities must work closely together to achieve a truly patient-centered, value-oriented health care delivery system.
Share your thoughts in the comments section on the value of using EHR in your organization. What were your biggest successes and challenges?
For more information on how Lippincott Solutions supports EHR-based care delivery, be sure to visit http://lippincottsolutions.com/landing/emr