EHRs Can’t Keep Up with Healthcare Analytics Abilities, Needs

Jennifer Bresnick | Health IT Analytics | August 17, 2016

The chronic shortcomings of EHRs are bringing providers to the boiling point as they attempt to engage in healthcare analytics and population health management.

The electronic health record simply isn’t evolving quickly enough to keep up with rapid innovations in healthcare big data analytics and the increasingly complex needs of end-users, says an editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week. The opinion piece, authored by a trio of physicians and researchers from Stanford University, points out that existing clinical decision support features often border on the useless due to an overwhelming number of low-priority alarms and alerts, inadequate data visualizations, and an inability to capture socioeconomic and behavioral data within the clinical workflow.

These shortcomings, coupled with data integrity concerns and burdensome documentation requirements, may be obscuring the potential benefits of EHRs as a portal for meaningful big data analytics and population health management support. But the well-known saga of the industry’s haphazard health IT journey has made it extremely difficult for some providers to develop interoperable, intuitive, time-saving EHR infrastructures that integrate big data into the care process.

The rise of unstandardized data sources, such as patient-generated health data from wearable devices and home monitors, and the growing importance of risk scores, clinical quality measures, and performance benchmarks, have changed the way providers want to work with their technology, but have not produced much of a difference within the technologies themselves. Providers are unable to take advantage of the burgeoning ecosystem of predictive analytics and population health management tools because their EHRs simply do not have a place to display the information in a way that will help clinicians make informed decisions at the point of care...