There are a few major categories of electronic record systems used in modern healthcare:
- Admission-Discharge-Transfer (ADT)
- Diagnostic and analysis (laboratory, DI, radiology, pathology, etc.)
As it is with any other information system, their main goal is storing data, simplifying its retrieval and automating its processing to deliver information in the way that makes sense to each user. In most cases, they do a good job increasing efficiency of respective business processes. But their combined effect can be even greater if EHR systems are able to communicate with the others and one another electronically. In my previous post, I mentioned that the capability of an EHR system to interact with Rx applications would decrease the risk of drug allergies and incompatibilities, especially, when the information from available problem and medication lists could be utilized. Another benefit is the ability to use consistent terminology and codes (e.g., SNOMED CT, LOINC, ICD-10) throughout the entire care environment, which would enable much more efficient search and reporting options, especially, at the RHIO and NHIN level. This is what I would expect the Health IT Policy and Standards Committees to concentrate on, when considering definitions of meaningful use of EHR.