EHR vendors are working hard to create interoperable systems; systems that can transfer and receive data without losing its integrity. They are doing this to take patient healthcare data, drawing it from all the sources that have this information, and compiling it into one Unified Patient Record(UPR).
Why? “Healthcare is not a one-time thing. Chances are, over the span of your life, you will visit several different doctors for several different concerns. And without data, we’re picking up at the start, every single time, and it is completely inefficient. It exposes doctors to inadvertent mistakes, issuing the wrong medication, requesting the wrong test(s) and a litany of such errors.
Worst still, it endangers patients as well. They cannot be expected to remember every ailment or test or wellness routine prescribed to them. That forgetfulness leads to one of healthcare’s biggest problems, that of cost inefficiency. Unknowing of the fact that a test has previously been conducted, a physician will re-recommend it because of lack of hindsight or prescribe a medicine that conflicts with another one.” ((How lack of medical history online is killing healthcare in India – Livemint.”))
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about the 3C’s that a integrated care practice needs to emphasize and focus on:
If you look at the statement above, you can see how a lack of UPR leads to all the 3C’s being neglected. Let’s take a look at hypothetical, individual scenarios involving a lack of UPRs and how it affects the 3C’s.
One of the fields of medicine where the care providers are resistant to fully engaging with Electronic Health Record(EHR) systems is psychiatry. But even they use EHRs to track basic patient health data, such as medication intake or medication history.
Now what if there was no UPR (Unified Patient Record) available for a mental health care seeking patient and a new care provider had to try and provide care for them? In most cases, the patient would only be able to name the health conditions they suffer from and the length of time.
Now they have to try and chart a new course of treatment or try and continue a course of treatment that the care provider does not have enough knowledge about. Either way, the patient is going to be set back in their treatment plan.
This affects the patient and the care provider in different ways. In the case of the patient, as the introduction mentioned, having to retake tests, having to start over from the beginning with a care provider and other inconveniences like that, would lead to the patient having to spend money and time that they didn’t need to.
Depending on the insurance plan they have, they might have to pay exorbitant out of pocket fees for some of the possible scenarios they face in a situation like this as well.
In the case of the care provider, not only does a lack of UPR (Unified Patient Record) lead to them possibly harming a patient, which goes against their sworn oath, but the fallout from it could lead to severe consequences, such as losing their license, losing their reputation, losing their insurance to practice medicine, getting sued and many more horrifying scenarios.
If they’re part of a practice or hospital, they also stand to lose here. On a small scale, care providers having to spend their day taking down the full health data and health history of several patients would lead to them not being able to see as many patients as possible; this would lead to decreased revenue. On a large scale, they face all the same liabilities that the care provider faces, except with bigger consequences.
Why does coordination matter? Well, the care and cash sections make it pretty obvious. Having a full and detailed Unified Patient Record allows for the patient to get continued treatment, wherever they go, without having to start over at the beginning and without having a high risk of ending up with the wrong medication being prescribed or taking duplicate tests.
A UPR also allows for care providers to exchange or transfer patient data without worry that the data might be partially missing.
We believe UPRs are so essential, that it was one of the main points we focused on when we created our blueEHR system. It is still one of the main points we focus on and is the reason why we have created a system that can interact with and is interoperable with any healthcare system out there.
The question that was asked in the first paragraph was why is UPRs so important. Since then, we’ve established how UPRs affect the care that patients receive; how UPRs affect the cost of care, for both the caregiver and the patient; we’ve established why everyone in the healthcare ecosystem takes it seriously. Now, we hope that you understand the importance of UPRs.