The cost and complexity of adopting, implementing, upgrading and meaningfully using certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) can be daunting for ambulatory providers in community practices. Achieving interoperability with external systems such as laboratories, pharmacies, and area hospitals that use different clinical and administrative systems presents another set of technical and logistical barriers to quality of care, patient safety and efficiency.
Some office practices do not have sufficient information technology (IT) infrastructure, resources, expertise and experience to do this efficiently and well. As a result, they may seek help (directly or with the assistance of an independent third-party consultant) from a trusted hospital, health system or practice network partner with a track record of successful electronic health record (EHR) implementation that is committed to assisting its community practitioners to do likewise.
Hospitals and larger healthcare systems that have successfully implemented EHR systems are increasingly offering their ambulatory EHRs to independent community physicians. This has significant potential to increase community EHR adoption and expand health information connectivity and exchange.
These are all key components of healthcare payment reform initiatives in the U.S. and abroad.
This guide will help community-based ambulatory health professionals and practice leaders explore the potential benefits, limitations and considerations of engaging in a hospital’s community outreach EHR program. It will also help hospitals interested in extending their ambulatory EHR systems to physicians in their communities.