Seeing that the medical landscape is changing into one which is more dynamic and involved, the need to actively track a patient’s health and chronic disease indicators is essential.
Although some of the current electronic health record (EHR) systems have the capability to compile and review collective data relating to some of the most common – and mostly preventable – health conditions, not all are able to do so.
For that reason, the best way to track patient information, identify key areas to monitor within your own patient population or to best use the population health statistics in order to create better programs for the most commonly seen conditions in family or internal medicine, is by making use of medical registries.
In short, a medical registry is a way to track a condition or disease either within your own patient panel, or you can follow an open registry in order to exchange information with other providers regarding a certain chronic disease condition. With registries it is possible to track clinical patient information across a wide range of illnesses and compare the patient care to other payer and government standards.
The main hurdle facing the use of registries is the lack of interconnectivity. According to Neil Treister, MD, FACC, medical informatics officer at the Sharp Community Medical Group in San Diego, California, “Something needs to be said about interfaces to labs, hospitals, radiology, etc. Those are incredibly problematic and expensive. And yet having that information electronically is critical for making the office paperless. I think 90% of our frustration is connecting to other entities.”
Bruce Bagley, MD, medical director for quality improvement for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), agrees, “He’s right but the technology’s getting better all the time, and vendors are beginning to address those issues with advances in the technology.”
Until that is in place, Bruce and other physicians suggest the following to make the most of EHR and improving the care of patients with chronic diseases:
- Metrics, don’t go overboard and remain in control – They suggest selecting one or two diseases and focusing on understanding how EHR can assist.
- Don’t only rely on off-the-shelf products – Meaningful and quality measurements require customization.
- Constant quality improvement is key.
- Make use of you staff to capture the data.
According to Jason Mitchell, MD, assistant director of the AAFP’s Center for Health Information Technology, “Data liquidity is the key. Monolithic EHRs are not the only way to manage health information effectively and, in fact, dependence on a single system from a single vendor may be seriously impeding our ability to improve the care we provide.
We need to be able to collect health information once and leverage it across multiple systems for multiple purposes, all in the interest of improving our patients’ health and wellness.”
For more information on this, please go to: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/content/tags/chronic-care/registries-powerful-tools-track-manage-chronic-disease