Many in healthcare are calling for a move from Electronic Health Records to Comprehensive Health Records. This switch represents the shift in the mindset of the healthcare community. Here are 4 reasons why EHRs should really be CHRs.
1. The “E” in EHR is redundant
Back in 2014 when healthcare moved from a paper system to an electronic system, calling EHRs “electronic” health records made sense. The point back then was the switch from paper to electronic. It was time for health records to be stored electronically.
However, 5 years later, health records are almost all electronic. We have transitioned from paper, and distinguishing between the two is no longer necessary. Changing the name from EHR to CHR represents the current values of the healthcare community.
2. Healthcare needs to be more comprehensive
Healthcare industry leaders have called for a switch from EHRs to CHRs, with the “C” standing for “comprehensive.” A comprehensive health record needs to include multiple data points, including social determinants of health. Judy Faulkner, CEO of Epic, had this to say about comprehensive healthcare:
“Because healthcare is now focusing on keeping people well rather than reacting to illness, we are focusing on factors outside the traditional walls.”
Modern healthcare is patient-centered, and as a result, the goal has changed. We want to help patients be healthy, rather than simply treating their illness as it comes. This requires a more complete picture of their health journey.
3. Current EHR filing cabinet system is not sustainable
Despite the desire to create comprehensive health records, EHRs as they are currently designed cannot be comprehensive. There is simply too much data. Doctors already struggle to find relevant data they need for their appointments. The data dump has created unmanageable EHRs, and this has even led to the physician burnout phenomenon. If we try to make those EHRs comprehensive by dumping even more data, it will not solve the problem.
4. APIs can already create a connected healthcare system
EHR vendors are beginning to open up their APIs for third party developers to use. This allows for connection and customization for both patients and physicians. Every patient is different, and the data needed to care for each patient is not always the same. That is why open APIs and third party applications within the EHR allows for a more comprehensive, connected health record.
“Technological advances have led other industries to adopt an API-based model, in which modules, devices, and software from different vendors can easily connect. That way, each vendor can focus on what it does best, and the user can benefit from an ecosystem of technology and software that work seamlessly together.” –UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation
Healthcare values have shifted in the last five years. Holistic, patient-centered care is the heartbeat of modern medicine, and our technology needs to foster these values. Because of this, EHRs should become connected CHRs–Comprehensive Health Records that contribute to keeping patients healthy.