You’ve probably heard that Epic Systems CEO Judy Faulkner wants to drop the E from electronic health records and replace it with a C.
“‘E’ has to go away now. It’s all electronic,” Faulkner said at the company’s user group meeting in late September. “We have to knock the walls down whether they’re the walls of the hospital or the walls of the clinic.”
Faulkner made something of a splash when she called an EHR a CHR, but, according to her, the letter change represents a big shift.
"Because healthcare is now focusing on keeping people well rather than reacting to illness, we are focusing on factors outside the traditional walls," Faulkner told Healthcare IT News.
Faulkner explained at the user group meeting three things Epic is thinking about in regards to a CHR.
“The first is that there’s information that’s not in the EHRs now. The second one is care that is not in the hospital but has to be part of the picture,” she said. “We bring them in the Comprehensive Health Record which should be the comprehensive health record – social and community care. And the last is traditional healthcare within the walls that has now moved out of the walls.”
To that end, and in contrast to today’s EHRs, the CHR would include more types of data, such as social determinants, about what people eat, how much they sleep, if they are obese or live in a food desert (or both), and whether they are lonely, because all of those factors can have an enormous impact on an individual’s health.
Another reason today’s EHRs must become more comprehensive is that other countries spend more money addressing those social factors. They end up with healthier people because of it, she said, such that the U.S. simply cannot afford not to include social determinants in patient’s medical history.
“If you want to keep patients well and you want to get paid, you’re going to have to have a comprehensive health record,” Faulkner told attendees. “You’ll need to use software as your central nervous system, and that’s how you standardize and manage your organization.”
The big question is whether Epic continues using CHR.
“Yes,” she said. “We think it should be the new terminology, replacing EHR.”
Healthcare IT year in review
This was one of our most popular stories of the year.