A Wall Street Journal article reports that a recent wave of hospital mergers may lead to challenges when different systems, terminologies, and documentation methods are already in place. In particular, facilities utilizing different Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems could face growing pains when being merged.
As almost a third of hospitals in the U.S. have already transitioned to EHR systems, and there are many offerings available in that market, there is a good chance that merging hospital chains will be using different EHRs. While the data can often be migrated fairly smoothly from one system to another, medical terminology used in one hospital may not be the same as what’s used in another, and the formats and methods of care documentation may also not match, further complicating efforts to bring continuity and homogeneity to all merging facilities.
These challenges are offset by the federal incentives offered to hospitals and doctors who demonstrate meaningful use of EHR systems, and by the reduction in costs and the improvement in patient outcomes as a result of a decline in unnecessary test orders and more accuracy and greater drug interaction notification with electronic prescriptions. EHRs such as Lytec MD, Medisoft Clinical, and Allscripts MyWay, sold and supported by Microwize Technology, can greatly streamline medical professionals’ productivity and accuracy.