The original version article was published on Physician’s Practice.
Health system and hospital leaders are increasingly looking to deploy sophisticated techniques to improve operational efficiency and mine the enormous amount of clinical, operational, and financial data that already exists within their electronic health records (EHR). This begs the natural question—if the data mostly exists in the EHR, why can’t the EHR do these things for us?
Many EHR vendors will assert that their software platform can perform these management functions, or if not will soon be doing so in an upcoming release. The senior leadership in the health system would like to believe that the EHR they selected can deliver these capabilities. After all, they invested tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and a countless number of FTE-hours deploying the EHR.
The EHR is excellent at doing what it was designed and chosen to do— harnessing all of the clinical, financial, operational, and patient-specific data in one place to create a single source of truth for the entire health system. It provides a unified view of all patient encounters across time and across all points of care, showing clinicians and staff a current view of the patient’s unique characteristics; however, the EHR cannot perform tasks it wasn’t built to perform.