ABBYY,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,EHR,Electronic Health Records,HITECH Act,Office of National Coordinator for Health IT
A recent study by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) about health information management (HIM) professional career trends attributes the electronic health record (EHR) as a major catalyst for the way health information is managed. In fact, a majority of physicians, 89.6 percent, are using some type of electronic medical record (EMR) or EHR system according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly 97 percent of hospitals are using a certified EHR system, reports the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT. This has greatly impacted the roles and duties of healthcare professionals, resulting in the need to train future HIM professionals in new educational competencies that align with evolving career opportunities. The AHIMA study shows that HIM professionals will spend a lower amount of time on diagnosis and procedural coding and more emphasis on leadership, teaching and informatics/analytics. To address this trend, AHIMA is proactively aligning its strategic objectives to support emerging roles in informatics and analytics, however, there are still challenges with EHRs and patient forms that will keep HIM professionals stagnant in their roles if not addressed.
Using decade-old technology.
The HITECH Act passed in 2009 when health IT adoption was in its nascent stages, yet, despite claims that healthcare is becoming fully electronic, it’s impossible to completely eliminate paper from patient care. Patients present insurance cards and driver licenses that must be copied, sign forms and provide summaries and referrals from other providers. They also complete health histories and other intake documents. Causing a significant drag on EHR systems is legacy optical character recognition (OCR) data capture technology that is nearly a decade old. While it is able to automate most data entry by digitally capturing and converting the data into EHRs, it is still error-prone and cannot capture unstructured data from various sources, or evolve to new form types or add form fields easily.