With its heavy focus on clinical documentation and workflows, the current state of electronic health record (EHR) systems has created a closed environment that limits the ability of digital health information to improve patient outcomes within and beyond a health system, according to the author of a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA). And the consequence of this design could be a significant impediment to future adoptions of EHR systems. “In their current form, EHRs function as a walled garden and prevent the integration of outside tools and services. This impedes the widespread adoption and diffusion of research interventions into the clinic,” writes Dr. Keith Marsolo of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The ultimate aim of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Programs and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Certification programs is to improve healthcare for all patients and the efficiency of its delivery through EHR and health IT systems. Progress in the EHR Incentive Programs is measured by how effectively electronic information can be leveraged to support providers to make well-informed clinical decisions — that is, though the use of tools such as clinical decision support (CDS).