What will the next generation of EPAs look like? 5 CIOs are added

The first generation of electronic medical records first appeared in the 1960s and focused on meeting the administrative needs of physicians. However, as the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, hospital and healthcare system CIOs want EHRs to also generate a more holistic view of a patient, e.g. by integrating AI and machine learning capabilities to improve patient outcomes.

Simplifying the user experience

“The next EHR should focus on simplifying the end-user experience by reducing screen clutter and click count,” said John Cross, CIO of Douglas, Georgia-based Coffee Regional Medical Center.

Mr Cross said that one way this could work is to implement AI-based large language models in healthcare rather than pre-programmed decision trees in EHRs.

“This would have the potential to simplify the end-user experience and improve the quality of care,” said Mr. Cross.

According to a study by the University of Missouri in Columbia, EHR systems are not realizing their potential. And as more physicians report higher levels of burnout, EHR duties are largely attributed to administrative overhead as physicians report losing clinical hours.

“EHR should make our physicians’ lives easier, not harder,” Darrell Bodnar, CIO of North Country HealthCare, based in Whitefield, NH, told Becker’s.

Mr Bodnar said he hopes EHR systems will help doctors refocus on care and not spend their time in front of a screen.

“We’ve put so much of the care process on the shoulders of our clinicians over the last 25 years that I’d really like to see the pendulum swing the other way and technology start making their lives easier,” said Mr. Bodnar.

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A study published Jan. 22 in the National Library of Medicine found that EHR documentation tasks, design, workload, and inbox alerts contribute to physician burnout.

According to the study, this burnout leads to poor care, behavioral problems, mental health complications, substance abuse, job dissatisfaction, higher turnover rates, and a decline in patient safety and satisfaction.

Can ChatGPT integrations move the needle for future EHRs?

“Future EHRs should feature artificial intelligence to improve patient outcomes, increase efficiencies, streamline workflows, reduce costs, and fix provider burnout by not being too click-heavy,” said Sunil Dadlani, CIO of Atlantic Health System based in Morristown, NJ across from Becker’s.

Mr Dadlani said if EHR systems leverage machine learning, generative AI, natural language processing, virtual reality blockchain and advanced predictive analytics capabilities, it could significantly help hospitals and healthcare systems support more personalized care.

Mr Bodnar also said he believes advanced technologies like AI and ML will be built into future EHR systems.

“Ambient speech recognition will be the source of data entry, and in most cases, due to its advanced capabilities and a future iteration of ChatGPT, it will be able to be published quickly with minimal clinician editing,” said Mr. Bodnar.

Epic Systems, the EHR provider that controls nearly a third of US hospital market share, recently said it will use GPT-4, an AI-powered tool developed by OpenAI, to help doctors and nurses do this To spend less time at the keyboard and help them examine data in conversation.

More efficient connection to new technologies

“The next generation of electronic health records should be more focused on the holistic patient journey and experience, and connect with innovative and emerging third-party technologies and custom interfaces,” said Brad Reimer, CIO at Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, SD Beckers.

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Mr. Reimer said he hopes EHRs will open up their platforms so that various interfaces like data, APIs and workflow integrations can be easier.

“Outside of the traditional EHR companies, there is a tremendous amount of money being poured into healthcare innovation. Being able to stitch together a variety of innovative solutions into a seamless and consistent patient experience is critical,” said Mr. Reimer.

He said EHRs offer great value and opportunity for patients, but if they can’t open their platforms to new technologies, they will remain technical silos.

Better data exchange

According to ONC, 96 percent of all non-state acute care hospitals and nearly 4 in 5 general practitioners have implemented a certified EHR system, but barriers to creating consistent statewide network interoperability across continuums of care remain.

“Right now we can share information, but most of it isn’t in the form and time that providers need,” Linda Stevenson, CIO of Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio, told Becker’s.

Ms Stevenson said going forward she would like to see EHRs have more standardization in their ability to share quality information for continuity of care.

According to a survey by healthcare data company Intelligent Medical Objects, 90 percent of the top vendors responsible for implementing and purchasing technology in their healthcare organizations said they lost revenue due to inefficient use of data.

But with the promise of AI and machine learning integration, Mr. Bodnar said, data will have the ability to be filtered, aggregated and aggregated to bring data to clinicians in a timely manner.