With the big bang of electronic medical record (EMR) installations mostly over, many in the industry wonder what comes next. Sure, most organizations require a substantial amount of workflow design effort to allow them to better utilize the functionality of EMRs to achieve targeted clinical and financial outcomes.
For organizations expanding their reach through mergers and acquisitions that create an even larger integrated delivery network (IDN), managing patients throughout their network becomes an increasing critical activity that greatly impacts bottom line results. Treating less sick patients at a tertiary hospital is usually not cost effective compared to a community hospital setting, and treatment of complex cases at the community hospital is often not in the best interests of the patient.
Previously IDNs effectively utilized paper records or spreadsheets in their transfer centers to manage patients as they moved from one hospital setting to another within the IDN.
With the advent of EMRs and other sophisticated clinical and administrative HIT systems, each transferred patients comes with an exponentially larger set of patient data, much of it extremely valuable to receiving hospitals and their clinical staff trying to effectively and efficiently manage the limited resources available to treat these very complex patients.