Used by almost 99% of hospitals across the United States, Electronic Health Record Systems (EHRS) serve as an intrinsic part of the healthcare value chain today. Yet, many physicians across the country are justifiably upset with effort and time they spend using these systems.
In a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Stanford Medicine, a staggering 71% of the respondents stated that EHRs contribute greatly towards physician burnout. Another 69% highlighted that EHRs are time consuming systems that distract them from imparting proper patient care. With time, the length of an average patient note in an EHR has increased and so has the time and effort process every record.
While it’s not fair to blame all physician burnout on the EHRS, it’s clear that the technology is affecting patient satisfaction in several ways, resulting in physicians spending more time on data entry-functions instead of patient-care.
So, where is it going wrong?
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act – a component under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 represented USA’s first commitment of federal resources to support widespread implementation of EHRS across the healthcare industry. Ever since then, medical laboratory managers and physicians have seen their parent healthcare organizations struggle to implement behemoth documentation systems and comply with the new federal data reporting regulations.
A decade and almost billions of dollars in incentives later, not much has improved. Today, EHRs still largely lack common interoperability protocols. In worst cases, healthcare networks are often forced to integrate a mix of incompatible and disparate EHRs to survive in the current climate of healthcare mergers and acquisitions.
Sadly, a major share of healthcare practitioners and physicians consider EHRs as a conduit to compliance, governance and privacy. Whereas, like every other healthcare application, the primary purpose of these systems is to drive better patient outcomes. EHR systems in particular play a critical role in shaping the patient-physician relationship – which in the new healthcare landscape directly impacts the quality of care.
Now the question is, how can healthcare organizations enhance clinical documentation processes to enhance collaboration, communication and trust between patients and clinicians?
Technology is the Answer
The advent of cognitive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) represents a significant opportunity for industry players to transform clinical documentation across the care continuum. Healthcare transcription backed by AI technologies such as advanced speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) can provide real-time intelligence at the point of care.
These technologies support the creation of medical transcripts by processing patient-physician conversations on a real-time basis and collating, sorting and assembling clinical information from multiple disparate sources in a matter of seconds. According to an Accenture analysis, the overall effort and work time saved in the process equates to almost 17% for doctors and 51% for registered nurses.
An advanced AI-based medical transcription platform embedded with speech recognition, software application can enable physicians to use their preferred devices to record medical transcriptions. Today, advanced cloud-based medical transcription platforms can also integrate with devices such as phones, DVR and dictation microphones, and allow transcription teams to manage workflows, monitor turnaround times and allocate dictated files.
Our collaboration with Mid Carolina Cardiology (MCC), a part of Novant health serves as an excellent example of how an intelligent voice-based document management system helped a healthcare organization simplify clinical documentation and improve bottom lines.
Before engaging with us, MCC worked with a third-party for transcription services, and the organization wasn’t happy with its performance. The vendor used unreliable and antiquated technology for clinical documentation which resulted in unmet turnaround times and inadequate communication. The organization needed three full-time FTEs to manage the tasks of manually inputting the transcribed documents into the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system and faxing the same to the referred physicians. There was a justifiable frustration within the doctor fraternity as the document quality was extremely poor and there were demographic errors in the reports. Additionally, legacy processes and data technology also resulted in higher costs and loss of critical transcribed audio files and reports.
As a solution to the issue, we deployed a high-end telephonic dictation system with high-quality voice recording or transcription and provided digital recorders as a backup. This helped MCC to streamline the method of processing the voice files. Apart from this, we took charge of MCC’s transcription process, fostering an end-to-end transition with an advanced EHR and document management solution.
Making an impact in this era of value-based patient care doesn’t essentially end with encouraging medical practitioners to become technology literates. It also entails equipping health care providers with cutting-edge transcription platforms, speech recognition tools and other patient-centric tools that can help them transform service delivery.
These tools can help ensure that clinicians get the due credit for the care they provide. Most importantly, they free them up while allowing them to spend more time on something that they do best and love most about their jobs – delivering patient care and collaborating with colleagues. Ultimately, this can pave the way for better outcomes, improved decision making and satisfactory patient experience overall.