Top EHR challenges in light of the stimulus. Enabling effective interdisciplinary, intradisciplinary and cross-setting communication

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Top EHR challenges in light of the stimulus. Enabling effective interdisciplinary, intradisciplinary and cross-setting communication

US healthcare is undergoing a transformation. The economic stimulus plan is intended to transform healthcare through health IT. The government has defined “meaningful use” of health IT. Healthcare is a team activity, and as such presents a challenge to the concept of meaningful use. While encoding clinical data into a computer is a positive step, it is not enough. A continuity-of-care record is needed to document and measure care; support clinical care; and coordinate care with public health agencies. This paper examines current research to assist decisionmakers moving forward. To realize the promise, integration across all clinical disciplines is critical. There are many challenges. These include: the threat of information overload, both at the transitions of care and between disciplines; the need to provide for data-sharing between clinical and public health agencies, an important component in both local community and national health issues; how to use health IT to improve the delivery of healthcare, especially with unintended outcomes of any change in healthcare and paper persistence; and addressing different views of “meaningful” for different uses and users of health IT. All of these challenges need to be considered for wise installation of health IT. In addition, attention must be paid to weaknesses in the current healthcare system to prevent codifying them in health IT.

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