Hospitals and health systems need more than the traditional EHR

September 27, 2018
Mark A. Caron, CHCIO, FACHE, CEO


Four healthcare workers in scrubs walking in corridor

Let’s face it. EHRs (electronic health records) were built for fee-for-service medicine and don’t have critical functionality needed to succeed in value-based care.

EHRs do not capture enough information to tell the whole story of individual patients or populations. EHR platforms do not deliver the level of data enrichment required for developing and extracting crucial insights users expect and need. External data factors such as chronic disease indicators, housing and transportation – collectively known as social determinants of health (SDoH) – are excluded from today’s EHR yet research has shown they account for more than 70 percent of patient outcomes. Nor are EHRs equipped to share data with everyone who needs it.

So says The HCI Group’s Senior Executive Consultant John T. Mason, who spent more than a decade as a hospital and health system CIO. So say many of his CIO peers. In fact, I’ve found that the shortcomings of EHRs are a frequent topic of conversation when CIOs gather at events like the Healthcare Informatics HealthIT Summit.

That’s why many hospital and health system CIOs are choosing to integrate an analytics and insights solution like Geneia’s Theon® platform, enabling them to accelerate their EHR investment and their path to value-based care success.

In his talk at HIMSS, John Mason detailed what EHRs are good at and what they’re not good at, as well as how the EHR coupled with an analytics platform enables healthcare organizations to much more easily perform the functions critical to value-based care success.

Five-Step Population Health Process

Mason, a seasoned and successful hospital CIO, discussed how value-based care has expanded the idea of treating and caring for the patient. Value-based care means healthcare organizations are increasingly responsible for the full lifecycle of the patient, necessitating a five-step population health process:

  1. Attribution: Determine the patients you need to care for
  2. Stratify: Evaluate the population based on their level of risk (low, rising and high)
  3. Care Planning: Create specific care plans for specific disease states
  4. Treatment: Deliver care based on the established care plans created for the patient group
  5. Engage: Continue to monitor and engage the patient group to reduce risk of additional issues

The Population Health Process

Slides are excerpted from John T. Mason’s HIMSS presentation, 1 + 1> 2: Accelerating the Value of Your Epic Investment with Analytics.

An analytics and insights platform enables hospitals and health systems to effectively perform all five steps in the population health process.

The EHR in a Fee for Service World

In contrast, the traditional EHR focuses only on step #3 Care Planning and step #4 Treatment, and as I noted above, excludes SDoH, which research shows are responsible for more than 70 percent of patient outcomes.

The Next Level in Patient Care

Hospital and health system CIOs are increasingly recognizing the limitations of their EHR and seeing the integration of an analytics platform as an effective, easy-to-implement solution.

Learn more


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