HSTpathways Tom Hui shares insights into interoperability, ASC-focused EHRs

HSTpathways CEO Tom Hui spoke to Becker's ASC Review on EHRs and interoperability in the ASC industry.

Note: Responses were edited for clarity and style.

Question: In the burgeoning ASC EHR space, how do you convince administrators of the benefits of EHRs and interoperability?

Tom Hui: Increased regulatory reporting is driving interest in using EHRs to efficiently capture and report data. Our job is less about convincing and more about providing education about EHRs.

It’s no longer a matter of if, but when ASC administrators will be confronted with EHRs and interoperability. Market forces, prompts from physicians and owners around efficiency and profitability will at some point make it necessary for an ASC to change its strategy in order to stay relevant or, in some cases, to survive. ASC administrators must understand whether their organization is ready to move from paper medical records to EHRs. The EHR is something administrators must plan for and think about when introducing it to their facility.

I would start by understanding the ASC’s organizational strategy, tactical goals, objectives and visions for staying relevant in the healthcare system, and learn whether the facility has any pain with their existing medical records. Administrators need help understanding and presenting the return on investment an EHR system would bring to their ownership.

Interoperability is important, and not just for the sake of being connected. In my recent work with a healthcare system, many connections were requested. As discussions progressed, we found a few well-placed connections advanced the goals of interoperability as well as the data flow for the healthcare system. An important part of our discussion with the healthcare system was tempered by the questions, 'Are the goals of interoperability practical?' and if so, 'Are the benefits and outcomes clear to the facility/third party/end user?' in terms of saving resources, time, money and staff.

EHRs support enhanced clinical workflows, improve patient outcomes, introduce cost savings for storing and retrieving paper charts and provide complete and accurate case costing.

Additional benefits of EHR interoperability includes:

  • Workflow optimization and consistency, which is one of the biggest benefits of EHRs. EHRs ensure clinicians have access to relevant clinical data at the right time in the care process. There are multiple issues with the static nature of paper records, including the obstruction of access to clinical data and the costly manual process of recording and retrieving data. Recording and retracting data manually is a costly process.
  • Accuracy in case costing is an essential component for an ASC’s financial management. A benefit of using an effective EHR is more complete and accurate case-costing information. Integrating an EHR with a practice management system allows an ASC to combine clinical data with financial data leading to better decisions. Cost data is frequently used and presented in contract negotiations with payers.

Look for more from Mr. Hui on EHRs and interoperability next week.

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