The future of electronic medical records: 4 trends to watch in 2020

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Electronic medical records (EMRs) retrieval has been an arduous, yet vital task for litigators and insurance companies. But it no longer has to involve rifling through stacks of records in dusty filing cabinets and relying entirely on cumbersome delivery processes. EMR solutions have revolutionized the way patient records are collected, stored, and processed. Now, EMR adoption rates have risen to nearly 90%, allowing for increasingly streamlined workflows and the many cost and management benefits that come with it. But despite these improvements, EMR still has a long way to go.

Here are some EMR challenges and trends we can expect to see in 2020 and beyond:

#1. Accessibility

Accessibility to key information has long been one of the biggest challenges facing litigators and insurance companies. It’s crucial to find the right balance between ensuring patient privacy according to the demands of compliance and the right parties being able to get critical information quickly.

Recent years have seen a huge adoption in EMR for this precise reason, but it still typically takes two to four weeks to retrieve records. The costs of implementing EMR are also incredibly high, but the hope is that government incentives will eventually apply to smaller practices as well to help overcome the challenges of cost and accessibility.

#2. Interoperability

Although EMRs have been around for a while, their rapid adoption has outpaced their ability to integrate effectively with existing systems. There’s a widespread lack of standardization, which can make it difficult for relevant parties to get a full picture of a patient’s health. While it should be a top priority for EMR system developers, interoperability is still sorely lacking.

Hospital staff still have to enter patient information manually into multiple systems. This leaves the process vulnerable to human error while valuable work hours. On a brighter note, improving interoperability and standardizing the way medical records are filed and processed is becoming a top priority for the government and vendors alike.

#3. Searchability

The lack of standardization in any data-heavy environment can cause problems with regards to searchability and ease of use. There’s a big discrepancy between the quality of data we’re capable of recording and the quality we actually have. As such, many EMR systems are lagging behind other operations and processes in terms of user-friendliness and efficiency.

Fortunately, emerging technologies like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are helping people make sense out of increasingly huge repositories of unstructured information. Over the coming years, we can expect searchability, empowered by these new technologies, to improve substantially. Newer providers are already getting on board with this crucial function.

#4. Adaptability

As technology continues to advance at a fast pace, many organizations and processes are having difficulty keeping up. This is transforming the dynamics of the industry, forcing healthcare providers and their associates to find the optimal balance between opportunity and risk. Many of these developments have profound implications for EMR as well.

Organizations need to become more adaptable to change. As the population grows along with the demands of public health, the need for scalability and flexibility will continue to grow as well. For example, many patients now want to access their health information online or via a mobile device, which means providers need a way to update it in real-time over the cloud.

Many of the world’s largest technology providers, such as Amazon, Google, and Apple, are now pouring huge sums into driving innovation in the healthcare sector. This will place EMR vendors under huge pressure to innovate as well if they want to survive.

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About The Author

img Chuck Dart
Chuck Dart started in the record retrieval business three decades ago. As the industry evolved from analog to digital, he recognized an opportunity to create a single, simple online solution that standardizes the record request and retrieval process across the entire healthcare industry.