3 steps for improving EHR effectiveness

National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari (pictured) has advised providers to take better advantage of their electronic health record systems to improve processes and patient care, according to an article in Government Health IT.

Mostashari, speaking at ONC's Health IT Policy Committee meeting last week, noted that many providers don't have the knowledge to take advantage of these tools.

"We're about halfway through the process of computerizing and digitizing America's hospitals and doctor's offices, and we're about 5 percent of the way through changing workflows and redesigning care to take advantage of those technologies," he said.

Mostashari recommended that providers take three steps to reap more benefits from their EHRs:

  • Reach out and engage patients more effectively, starting with those that don't obtain follow up care, but are the most likely to need it
  • Redesign processes and workflows, such as using automation and getting patients to obtain follow up tests before returning to the physician's office
  • Use protocol-based automatic defaults, such as the use of a statin if a patient's attempts to lower his blood pressure by diet and exercise don't work after a year

The Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee were both created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide health IT recommendations to ONC. Meetings and committee agendas are open to the public.

To learn more:
- read the Government Health IT article
- listen to the meeting and read the materials