EMR adoption is at the heart of the healthcare transformation

Having critical information available when and where it is needed is a powerful tool in our efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of our healthcare system. To move healthcare forward, I’ve always said that we must connect people to the right technology and processes. Information technology is at the heart of the healthcare transformation, and the continued adoption of electronic medical records is a sign that we are making significant progress.

Although EMR adoption rates vary by type and size of provider, all have seen slow but steady increases since 2008 and the next year is likely to be a turning point. Organizations will continue making significant investments to implement EMR solutions to meet regulatory requirements and because of the potential benefits for patients and caregivers. And I predict that patients will become even more engaged in accessing and managing their digital health records.

Earlier this summer, U.S. News and World Report recognized the nation’s Most Connected Hospitals for 2012 – 156 facilities that are significantly advanced in the adoption of electronic medical record systems. These hospitals – 70 percent of which are Dell customers – have met three challenging standards that put them in the vanguard of those using IT to drive the transformation of healthcare. Each is distinguished by having captured a national ranking in the 2012-13 U.S. News Best Hospitals and/or Best Children’s Hospitals rankings or by having earned the designation of “high-performing” in one or more medical specialties. And each hospital, or one or more of its major units, is a leader in moving to EMRs based on criteria established by the federal government and HIMSS.

It’s no accident that these same hospitals are also leaders in clinical excellence. We’re already seeing that EMRs can help reduce medical errors and improve care for patients dealing with chronic illness. And in the not-so-distant future, IT will be leveraged not only for documentation and exchange, but also for expert diagnosis and analytics.

During National Health IT Week, Sept. 10-14, take a moment to think about the ways IT is improving the care you receive. And please joining me in congratulating those healthcare providers who are pushing the limits of information-driven healthcare.

What do you think will be the biggest healthcare IT trends in 2013? Share your feedback here or through your own blog post and submit it to the HIMSS Health IT Week Blog Carnival.

About the Author: Dr. Jamie Coffin