Five Ways EHRs Are Helping CDC Track COVID-19 Vaccinations

By the EHR Association COVID-19 Task Force

In December, two COVID-19 vaccines received authorization from the FDA, and the federal government began distribution to the states almost immediately. Millions of Americans have already received their first dose – many their second – and millions more will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. While social distancing, frequent hand washing, and face masks remain vital tools in limiting spread of coronavirus, we can increasingly see our way to a full return to hugs and handshakes, in-person meetings, travel, pubs and parties, concerts and classrooms.

As we anxiously await a return to our old way of life, public health experts, policymakers, and the public are watching the CDC vaccine data tracker, updated every evening with the latest numbers, including: 

  • How many vaccine doses have been distributed to-date? 
  • How many vaccines have been administered?
  • How many people have received their first dose? 
  • How many people have gotten a second dose?
  • Which vaccine is being administered?

But how does the CDC get all that data? The answer varies, but it’s made possible by technology, and electronic health records (EHRs) have been a key player from the beginning. 

Here are five ways that EHRs and the EHR Association are playing important roles in vaccine administration and data collection in the United States.

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Coronavirus: How EHRs Are Supporting Clinicians

For updated COVID-19 resources for health IT developers and other stakeholders, click here.

Coronavirus-badge-300As cases of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus continue to be identified in more and more locations, clinicians are understandably concerned with the challenge of diagnosing potential cases among their patients presenting with flu-like symptoms. EHR developers have prepared for crises like this, and resources embedded in EHRs can help. (more…)

Usability Begins With The User

By the EHR Association’s Clinician Experience Workgroup

world usability day logoToday is World Usability Day. On November 14, events around the globe celebrate how developers can make our world easier for all with technology that works to harness human potential. This year’s World Usability Day theme, “Design for the Future We Want,” is inspired by the United Nation’s (UN’s) 17 Sustainable Development Goals—number three on the list is health and wellness. 

EHRA has scheduled its next Usability Summit for January 29, 2020 in Washington DC

Incorporating user-centered design into health IT contributes to better patient care by considering individual users’ preferred style, vocabulary, information visualization, and workflow in software development decisions. The goal is for EHRs to not only be usable, but helpful, such as by integrating clinical decision support, PDMPs, e-Prescribing, and other technology into clinicians’ workflows. (more…)

Enabling Improved Price Transparency In Healthcare

price transparEncyOn June 3, the public comment period on ONC’s NPRM implementing health IT provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act closed. These comment windows offer a unique opportunity to gain a broader perspective on the state of the health IT industry. 

Upon our review of the feedback submitted to ONC, an overwhelming trend emerged—nearly 55% of the 2,013 comments were from individual patients commenting in favor of increased price transparency in the healthcare industry. Patients shared stories of the challenges they faced in determining the cost of treatment before receiving care, and dozens expressed the shock and financial hardship they experienced when they received a bill for their care. 

In the months since the public comment window closed, we’ve seen this demand for healthcare price transparency gain attention across the industry. President Trump issued an executive order, and the Senate is considering the “Lower Health Care Costs Act,” legislation that aims to improve patient access to price information in the healthcare industry.

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Standardizing Data Collection to Support Clinicians in the Opioid Fight

By David Bucciferro and Katelyn Fontaine
EHRA Opioid Crisis Task Force 

Dataset Infographic

Click here to open image in new window.

Volunteers on EHRA’s Opioid Crisis Task Force have made great strides in the past year in our efforts to identify the policy changes and adoption patterns needed to maximize the capacities of health IT to combat the opioid crisis.

From the start, our focus has been, What do providers need from technology to support their efforts in the opioid crisis?

When we began our work in early 2018, we were surprised to find that there was no comprehensive source for the state-specific policies and standards surrounding prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS). So, we set out to create our own.

State by state, we collected data, including timeframes for reporting controlled substance prescriptions to PDMPs, what data is collected, which professionals are able to access PDMP information, if and when information can be shared across states, and any limits on retaining PDMP data within an EHR.

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How EHR Technology Can Support Best Practices for Opioid Prescribing

By Dan Seltzer and Alan Staples
Co-chairs, Clinician Impact Subgroup, EHRA Opioid Crisis Task Force

screenshot_2018-12-26 ehra cdc opioid guideline implementation guide for ehrs - ehra-cdc-opioid-guideline-implementation-gu[...]The widespread opioid epidemic and its devastating effects flood our news feeds daily. No one is immune, which is why when the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA) asked for volunteers to join a new Opioid Crisis Task Force, we and many others – including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists – stepped forward to share our experiences and expertise. For the past year, we have been conducting research and providing recommendations on new ways EHR technology can contribute solutions to help solve the complex puzzle of the opioid crisis.

Our most recent contribution is the CDC Opioid Guideline – Implementation Guide for Electronic Health Records.

Initial research and conversations with providers focused on the question, What do providers need from technology to support their efforts in the opioid crisis?  The input we received led us to develop a guide to assist healthcare organizations implement clinical practice guidelines within the EHR to improve opioid stewardship in clinical practice.   (more…)

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