5 reasons medical device data is vital to the success of EHRs
IT experts argue daily that more simple interfaces and paper-like workflows are the keys to the success of EHRs. And although that may be true, Shahid Shah, software analyst and author of the blog The Healthcare IT Guy, believes medical device data not only fills the void often found in these systems, but can also ensure their adoption in the months and years to come.
Shah offers five reasons why medical device data is vital to the success of EHRs.
1. EHRs are just a vehicle, not the end goal. Although 2011 was all about meaningful use, said Shah, most don’t realize MU is all about data – not EHRs. For example, the government needs data for cost comparisons, healthcare professionals need it for treatment research and chart management, and patients need it for choosing the right provider and treatment. “Right now, we know Medicare and Medicaid are paying more than 50 percent of the nation’s healthcare costs, but doing so as ‘fees for services’ without regard to what treatments, medications, or tests really work,” he said. According to him, the evidence-based research that goes into figuring out what works and what doesn’t is the foundation of what has been known as Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), which is being rebranded as Patient Centered Research. “The government needs tons of data for CER, which is designed to inform healthcare decisions by providing evidence on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options."
2. It’s doctors, not the technology, who help patients make the right decisions. When it comes to research for treatment options, evidence is generated from studies that compare drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, or ways to deliver care. In the best cases, said Shah, researchers review evidence about the benefits and harms of each choice. “Then, over time, researchers conduct studies that generate new evidence of effectiveness or comparative effectiveness of a test, treatment, procedure or other service,” he said. Although CER may sound like it’s all about the government and evidence-based medicine to contain healthcare costs, ultimately, “its about providing treatment comparison choices to help make informed decisions,” said Shah. “In the end, it’s still healthcare professionals, not technology, that must deliver tools to the patients that can help [them] and their families select the right treatment options."