Over the last few years, electronic medical record systems (EMRs) have emerged as a priority investment area for healthcare organisations, with penetration around 60-70 per cent of Australian hospitals (beds). While these systems are great at storing patient data and keeping a digital record of patients’ medical history, healthcare professionals today are experiencing a variety of challenges with these systems.
Initially, EMRs were introduced in the 90s to improve the quality of care by helping healthcare professionals more easily identify, diagnose and treat a patient’s condition, and improve workflow efficiency. However, many of these systems were designed around a model where doctors and nurses have to go to the computer, look at data and interpret it, make a response, and then store this information in their heads.
In other words, there is no inherent push model that tells healthcare professionals “this data is the most important right now” and “you need to know this now” to improve their decision-making and ultimately, help them improve patient outcomes. As a result, doctors and nurses are spending more time on the operational processes such as data entry and electronic paperwork, rather than the patient experience.
The current state of EMR technology is also seen to contribute to clinician burnout. While clinicians see the potential for EMRs to eliminate inefficiencies and errors, many report that they are unable to meet EMR data entry demands and patient care responsibilities, and that the systems aren’t user friendly, with outdated interfaces and requiring excessive mouse clicks to perform what should be simple tasks.
At the moment, EMRs require extensive manual analysis to find out where the clinical risk is and what is going on in different departments. In an increasingly analytics-driven healthcare environment, healthcare organisations need to effectively ingest more data into current systems and present it to clinicians in a meaningful and timely way to improve healthcare delivery.
New tools and processes that presents insights intelligently and dynamically back into the workflow will allow clinicians to focus more on the patient and with the confidence that better data is helping them provide better care. This is where we believe clinical apps like Miya MEMRe will have the greatest impact.
Miya MEMRe is a new generation of mobile clinical app. Built on the Apple iOS platform to offer a familiar user experience, Miya MEMRe is the first mobile EMR app in Australia that uses FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) and artificial intelligence to create a powerful clinical decision support engine.
By taking an extensive amount of data from different sources – not only in EMRs but also in clinical systems such as radiology, and medical and drug databases – and applying AI, Miya MEMRe draws attention to the data that clinicians need to act on. Clinicians can also see their entire caseload and prioritise their time.
Miya MEMRe’s sophisticated detection rules will also be invaluable for doctors and nurses managing the growing number of patients with chronic diseases and acute exacerbations. Patients with long-term conditions such as diabetes often undergo lots of observations and tests as part of their care management plan, so their healthcare professionals treating them don’t require this information all the time.
But if something changes in their health condition, such as their blood pressure or kidney function, then that’s when clinicians need this information exactly when it happens and need to know what the response should be. Miya MEMRe can help clinicians to manage to a larger number of patients effectively, while ensuring that care is personalised and precise, and meets the individual patients’ needs and health goals.
Ultimately, what transcends is a clinical app built around safety by default. Too often healthcare providers rely on local heroics to get patients through the system safely. It needs to be the easiest thing to do. That’s why we’re working with local healthcare services to ensure it integrates with their workflows, is easy to use and doesn’t add additional burden to doctors and nurses who have heavy workloads.
Given the time, money, and other resources invested, EMRs are here to stay. But as EMRs evolve to better align with digital health goals, healthcare organisations need to recognise that EMRs are not the end of their digital journey; they’re really only the beginning. Enabling smarter and safer care and improving the clinician experience will come from new innovations on top of the EMR, namely, next-gen analytics and AI.
Malcolm Pradhan, Director and Chief Medical Officer, Alcidion