Electronic Health Records (EHR) are electronic file cabinets for collecting and storing primary information about patients seen in care. The effort to adhere to the requirements of entering that into an electronic documentation system demands some change in clinical behavior. Often, “it takes too long” is expressed when the discipline of electronic entry is compared to handwritten charting. However, these personal time costs have the potential to reap significant benefits when those data are called upon to answer questions beyond simple evidence of what was performed.
The ability to look back at performance and patient data in aggregate and provide evidence of effectiveness and efficiency is the basis for clinical analytics (CA). CA is rapidly becoming the clinician’s practice resource for achieving best practice as population based healthcare management transforms how we work and how we will get paid.
Our choice of tools must not be determined by behavioral changes required to use them, but rather their payback in knowledge gained through their use. The value of an EHR or outcome measure is not determined by the learning curve associated with getting up to speed and competency but where they point us to in knowledge gained for future practice decisions. Meaningful use of these tools is demonstrated by the output of their associated CA. Whether performed on the desktop or research center, CA and electronic clinical records use will unlock the clinical pathways to what works best for who in planning care. Recent evidence of this
evolving technology was published[i] by Jette and colleagues; using the AM-PAC Functional Assessment to predict discharge destination from acute hospitals. Adding to the knowledge of where continuing care resources are most appropriately applied is one of Medicare’s most pressing issues; EHRs and CA provide evidence and value for future clinical practice in post-acute rehabilitation.
[i] Jette, D, et al,; AM-PAC “6 Clicks” Functional Assessment Scores Predict Acute Care Hospital Discharge Destination. Physical Therapy, September 2014 vol. 94 no. 9 1252-1261