News Feature | February 18, 2015

The Future Of EHR: The Vendor's Perspective

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Vital EHR Access addresses post-implementation strategy, the implications for IT, layers of optimal EHR (electronic health records) use, and other topics in their informative interview with Dr. Glenn Tobin, CEO of Crimson.

The points covered in this interview will be especially important to your clients as the healthcare economy shifts to place more importance on population health management and value-based care. Here are some of the highlights.

The ONC Announcement
The ONC recently announced that it plans to achieve basic interoperability by 2017. According to Dr. Tobin, this move is crucial in pushing the system beyond existing boundaries that EHRs place on information collection, and to a point where truly useful steps are being made toward “learning” systems that improve with time.

Challenges Of The Future
Tobin sees the challenges of the “post-EHR world” as ones that are no longer focused on EHRs at the implementation level, but instead, one where electronic data is standard and systems move beyond the simple capturing of data. He also speaks about the issue of “too much data,” stating that “metrics, dashboards, and reports spawn more of the same.” He gives insight into debates that are going on in between healthcare executives, like what metrics help change practice patterns, how those metrics are calculated, how organizations change clinician behavior.

Stars Of Post-Implementation
In the fourth question of the interview, Dr. Tobin addresses systems that shine post-implementation, and what makes them special. He condenses it into one, simple idea, stating that right now, they are “figuring out how to make specific patient populations healthier.”

He also calls out a few other points that cause these systems to stand out:

  • They use data from a variety of sources, and predict risk on an individual level.
  • Their leaders know how to connect patient physical and emotional health.
  • They engage with their communities.
  • They find ways to create and encourage physician/clinician communities that include patients at some level.

Effective Data Use
Advisory asked Dr. Tobin about “two layers to optimal EHR use” — actual data, and how data is used to bring about change.

He responded by stressing the importance of policy leaders and healthcare systems in creating data systems that prioritize openness and flexibility for analytics and action layers working together. He specifically mentions that he does not believe it will be possible for one vendor organization alone to provide the insight necessary to drive true population health, and that cooperation, at both the vendor, and organizational level, will be crucial.