Improving Electronic Health Records (EHRs): Innovative companies tackling the challenge

Simone Edelmann, PhD

Editor at HealthcareTransformers.com

Improving Electronic Health Records (EHRs): Innovative companies tackling the challenge

12 January 2023 | 7min

Quick Takes

  • The shift towards value-based healthcare and new advancement in technology requires a fresh perspective when improving electronic health records

  • EHRs were initially created to streamline processes, create efficiency and optimize care and performance

  • To meet the changing demands of patients and the healthcare industry as a whole, companies are innovating and rethinking how EHRs are being used within new tech solutions

“By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care.” –President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2004

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are being used across healthcare to provide greater efficiencies and quality patient experience and outcomes. The shift towards value-based healthcare requires digital solutions, including EHRs, that bring together key stakeholders such as laboratories, specialists, medical imaging facilities, pharmacies, emergency facilities, and school and workplace clinics to provide a holistic and seamless transition throughout the patient journey. 

The history of Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the digital version of a patient’s paper chart. Dating back to the 1960s, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota was one of the first major health systems to adopt EHRs.1 In the last 10 years and certainly with the pandemic, EHRs are being implemented in healthcare systems as a way of:

  • Enabling clinical efficiency
  • Making documentation simpler and more efficient
  • Improving care coordination
  • Optimizing quality performance
  • Improving Value-Based-Care results

Being able to share and access sensitive patient data with authorized users in real-time, no matter where a patient was, allows patients to receive the holistic care they need. 

An EHR system is built to go beyond the standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office. It allows users to:

  • View, record, and store patient medical history, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory and test results
  • Access evidence-based tools that providers can use to make decisions about a patient’s care
  • Automate and streamline workflows

Types of EHR Systems

There are four types of EHR Systems:

  1. Physician-hosted system: These are hosted locally on a physician’s own servers. The physician takes on all the costs to install, maintain and secure the hardware and software.  
  2. Subsidized remote system: Smaller clinics come together with hospitals or medical networks to cover some of the costs of an EHR system. The system is hosted at the network’s or hospital’s headquarters, with physicians able to access it remotely.
  3. Dedicated remote system: The EHR vendor stores all the practice’s data on its servers and provides remote access. Physicians have no control over the data storage methods and locations and aren’t responsible for maintenance.
  4. Cloud remote system: EHR vendors store their client’s data in the cloud, providing physicians with easy access to their data through the vendor’s website. The vendor is responsible for maintenance.2

There are many start-ups and established companies, that are innovating EHR systems and software. Let’s take a closer look at six of these companies, and what kinds of solutions they are bringing to improve the patient experience using EHRs.   

6 companies innovating electronic health records (EHRs)

athenahealth: An EHR that lets you focus on delivering care

Challenge: It’s one thing to digitize patient records and another to create a system that makes providing healthcare easy and efficient. With the move towards value-based healthcare, healthcare organizations need to also be able to capture the patient experience securely and accurately to be able to make informed and timely decisions.

Solution: In 2019, athenahealth was formed, bringing together two companies with decades of experience in healthcare technology: athenahealth, Inc. and Virence Health. They combined their technology, insights, expertise, and customer base. 

By expanding their revenue cycle management, clinical record, and patient engagement services, and opening their network to other partners, care settings, and providers, they can help providers eliminate obstacles and provide a smarter healthcare experience. 

To learn more, visit the athenahealth website. 

CareCloud: An EHR that lets you optimize care delivery

Challenge: The healthcare industry is transforming at record speed, which requires a lot of updates to financial and regulatory requirements. With poor technology, the patient experience suffers leaving patients to move to another provider, resulting in lost revenues. It is difficult to then attract new patients putting additional pressure on revenue targets. In addition to the rising costs, declining reimbursements, and regulatory requirements, the declining quality initiatives and population health challenges put even more pressure on the profitability of many providers today.

Solution: A user-friendly, integrated practice management, EHR, and revenue cycle solution to help the practice’s profitability while enhancing the patient experience and delivery of care. One of the most innovative aspects is its approach to charts, specifically the integration of a “real-time patient flow” system. This user interface feature gives physicians the ability to “drag and drop patients intuitively across columns as they progress through the practice”3

By leveraging this EHR solution, providers can treat more patients, get paid faster, and stay ahead of change. The company’s audacious vision is to rise to the top of the fiercely competitive EHR market and become “the single log-in for healthcare.”4

To learn more, visit the CareCloud website. 

DrChrono: An EHR system that lets you focus on what matters most

Challenge: A lot of time is spent on the computer when ideally more time should be spent on the patient. The ability to be able to record data on the go through a mobile device would enhance the user and patient experience, creating a win-win at every touch point. 

Solution: The DrChrono EMR is a fully customizable solution that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The native iPad software allows providers to give on-demand healthcare and spend more time interacting with a patient, which is what matters most for patient experience. Providers also get to spend less time on a computer, making their work experience more enjoyable and less stressful.

To learn more, visit the DrChrono website. 

ModMed: An EHR software modernizing medicine

Challenge: Administration and tedious processes that take the focus away from the patient have a significant impact on the user and patient experience.  Furthermore, the decentralization of data makes it difficult to provide on-demand care and adds unnecessary stress to providers. 

Solution: Specialty-specific EHRs are specifically designed for a provider’s workflow and can adapt and adjust to the organization’s needs. It allows providers to simplify work processes, schedule appointments, access metrics-driven reporting, and manage documents and billing. ModMed’s analytics solutions bring together clinical, financial, and operational data to create interactive reports.

To learn more, visit the ModMed website. 

Elation: An EHR software offering personal and informed patient care

Challenge: Healthcare providers are under more and more pressure to balance patient care with compliance & documentation requirements. With increased demands, in-depth workflows, and multiple touchpoints that require sharing of information, healthcare providers require innovative approaches to work.

Solution: Elation provides a HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliant and ONC (Office of the National Coordination for Health Technology) certified EHR solution. It is a clinical-first experience that empowers providers to deliver an optimal client experience at every stage in the patient journey. From before the patient’s visit to after the visit and beyond. It also allows providers to manage and grow and integrate data in a way that makes it readily accessible. 

To learn more, visit the Elation website. 

Practice Fusion: An EHR software built to help independent practices thrive

Challenge: Clinical workflows are complex and go beyond the clinical practice. The demand placed on physicians and healthcare providers is high. Work-life balance and burnout are becoming increasingly difficult to manage with the onset of the pandemic and the shifting needs of patients. 

Solution: Practice Fusion offers a cloud-based and customizable solution for a more coordinated patient care and enhanced practice management system. The solution is simple to implement with the support of their team and provides more flexibility to healthcare providers, helping to achieve more work-life balance.  

To learn more, visit the Practice Fusion website. 

Transforming the future of healthcare 

EHRs have come a long way since being just an electronic version of a patient’s chart. With advances in technology such as artificial intelligence, startups and companies are looking at EHRs with a fresh perspective. By using innovative and value-based approaches, EHRs are now being used as systems and data sources to produce more comprehensive output on a micro and macro level from a clinical, operational, and financial perspective. Addressing the challenges of today to create the tech solutions of tomorrow that will continue to transform healthcare as we know it.

Want to find out more about innovative companies working to improve healthcare, then check out our article Improving the healthcare supply chain: Innovative companies tackling the challenge.

Simone Edelmann, PhD is an editor and contributor at HealthcareTransformers.com. After completing her PhD from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, she found her passion in medical and scientific communications. She is dedicated to delivering high-quality content on the topic of the future of healthcare to our readers.

References

  1. Becker’s Healthcare. (2015). Article available from https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/a-history-of-ehrs-10-things-to-know.html [Accessed October 2022]
  2. TechnologyAdvice. (2022). Article available from https://technologyadvice.com/electronic-health-records-ehr-systems/ [Accessed October 2022]
  3. CareCloud. (2022). Article available from https://www.carecloud.com/continuum/carecloud-next-generation-charts-cloud-based-ehr/ [Accessed October 2022]
  4. McKnight. (2013). Article available from https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/5-ehr-startups-with-innovative-approaches-to-health-records/187956/ [Accessed October 2022]
  5. DrChrono. (2022). Article available from https://www.drchrono.com/electronic-health-record-ehr/ [Accessed October 2022]

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