Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced the findings of a new study revealing that a majority of healthcare leaders plan to use additional technologies and tools to realize the full intended benefits of electronic health records (EHRs) and to improve clinician satisfaction with using them. The study also concluded that the improved clinical documentation resulting from EHRs and related technologies will drive positive financial impact for their institutions, including appropriate reimbursement and increased patient flow.
The EHR and Clinical Documentation Effectiveness Study, conducted by HIMSS Analytics, was designed to understand the adoption and optimization of EHRs and supporting tools used by clinicians, as well as opportunities for improvement at hospitals and healthcare systems.
"Just as fracking revolutionized and disrupted the petroleum industry by unlocking untapped resources, innovations such as computer-assisted physician documentation, natural language processing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will do the same by tapping into medical data and deriving more value for the healthcare industry," said John S. Lee, MD, CMIO, Edward Elmhurst Hospital. "Once this data is discretely available, it then is only a matter of ingenuity and creativity to use it at the point of care."
The study revealed that the majority of respondents (83%) have confidence that their organization will realize the full benefits of EHRs, most notably their intended purpose of providing improved care coordination and outcomes. Today, organizations are investing heavily in resources to support EHR use and documentation of patient information. Three quarters have added training and support resources, and two-thirds have increased staff in at least one IT area since moving to an EHR.
Notable findings include:
- Addressing clinician satisfaction in three key ways – Healthcare institutions today acknowledge that it’s critical to find ways to save clinicians time and improve their satisfaction. This ultimately can improve work/life balance, and support retention and recruitment among clinicians.
A majority of respondents identified three primary ways healthcare institutions are working today to improve clinician satisfaction around EHR use:
- 82% provide clinician training and education
- 75% enhance existing technology and tools
- 68% adopt new technology and tools
Plans to introduce EHR-enhancing technologies in 2017 – While arming clinicians with technology at the point of care is not pervasive today, approximately one quarter of respondents plan to introduce enhancing technologies at the point of care to optimize EHR use. This will help clinicians more fully document the patient story, improve satisfaction and reduce physician burnout, ultimately resulting in improved patient flows and better financial outcomes.
The top enhancing technologies planned for use in 2017 are:
- Mobility tools - 44%
- Computer-assisted physician documentation (CAPD) - 38%
- Speech Recognition - 25%
More complete patient records drive financial impact – Hospitals realize that more accurate and complete clinical documentation of patient encounters not only impacts patient safety, care delivery and outcomes, but also has a significant impact on finances for the institution. Two-thirds of respondents indicated that improved clinical documentation that results in capturing appropriate data for reimbursement will have the largest financial impact for their organizations.
Other areas that would benefit from improved documentation include:
- Reduction in denied claims - 54%
- Improved performance under bundled payments - 52%
- Reduced re-admissions -38%
- Better physician time management that improves patient flow - 38%
"Technology is an important part of the healthcare experience today, but physicians need to interact with technology in ways that are more seamless and less obtrusive in order to keep their attention focused on the patient. The right technology, working to complement EHRs can accomplish this, and our clients are reporting major improvements in clinician satisfaction, quality, and financial outcomes," said Brenda Hodge, senior vice president of healthcare marketing, Nuance. "In fact, we have doubled the number of organizations using our cloud-based platform, Dragon(R) Medical One, in less than a year because it gives clinicians freedom to document when and where they want."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
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