Future EHR users

Announced on December 15, 2011 for the first time in Ohio, a hospital is "live" on the statewide health information exchange (HIE)-CliniSync. Clinical patient data is moving from St Rita's Medical Center in Lima to Health Partners of Western Ohio, a federally qualifi ed health center, right into the physicians' electronic health records (EHR) system. The state's vision is to connect all hospitals, physicians, labs and others in a health information exchange system that is designed to improve patient care and outcomes for the entire community and region. Long term care will most likely be identifi ed in the 'others' category. Federal funding has been distributed to the non-profit Ohio Health Information Partnership that is responsible for establishing regional extension centers to assist with the creating of infrastructure.

An electronic health record (EHR) (also electronic patient record (EPR) or computerized patient record) is an evolving concept defi ned as a systematic collection of electronic health information about individual patients or populations. It is a record in digital format that is capable of being shared across different health care settings, by being embedded in network-connected enterprise-wide information systems. Such records may include a whole range of data in comprehensive or summary form. Its purpose can be understood as a complete record of patient encounters that allows the automation and streamlining of the workfl ow in health care settings and increases safety through evidence-based decision support, quality management, and outcomes reporting.

The terms EHR, EPR and EMR (electronic Medical record) are often used interchangeably, although a difference between them can be defi ned. The EMR can be defi ned as the legal patient record created in hospitals and ambulatory environments that is the data source for the EHR. It is important to note that an EHR is generated and maintained within an institution, such as a hospital, integrated delivery network, clinic, or physician offi ce, to give patients, physicians and other health care providers, employers, and payers or insurers access to a patient's medical records across facilities.

Implementing an EHR will dramatically change how your organization functions. A thorough and honest assessment of your organizational readiness must take place before you select an EHR.
  1. Are you ready for EHR? On its own it cannot solve workfl ow, effi ciency, staff training or quality problems.
  2. Why do you want an EHR? Your organization's goals for implementing an EHR must be clearly stated.
  3. How will you select an EHR? The Offi ce of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has established Regional Extension Centers (REC) to help.
There is a good start on getting your facility on the road to EHR path. For more information see: www.CliniSync.org or www.HealthIT.hhs.gov

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