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EHR – A long way to go

India leads the world in digital health technologies, and yet has a very low adoption of EHR when compared to developed countries.

Digital technology is quickly transforming the healthcare sector. Patients are now active value-seeking customers rather than passive users of healthcare. Due to this transformation and new government laws, healthcare providers are also moving to such kinds of facilities. The urgent demand for service assurance in the healthcare sector today and in the future is being driven by this adoption.

The market is growing exponentially every year. Technologies are called to facilitate many daily operations for healthcare providers, take patient care to a new level, improve clinical employees’ efficiency, and boost revenue. It is now feasible to improve healthcare units’ performance, increase the efficiency of the medical personnel, and provide cutting-edge services to the industry’s patients, thanks to automated revolution in healthcare.

Electronic health records
At the heart of the digital revolution is a move toward true interoperability, or the widespread adoption of universally accepted electronic health information. Electronic health record (EHR) stores various types of medical data electronically. The data consists of details on the patient’s hospital expenses, prescriptions, drug allergies, and medical background. The current paper-based methodology is ineffective, wasteful, and expensive to maintain. The advantages of EHR, on the other hand, include cooperation, portability, and simple data recovery.

EHR facilitates the clinician’s ability to make informed medical decisions. Additionally, EHR makes it possible for care providers to quickly gather, store, and retrieve patient medical information with the use of the hospital information system (HIS). Along with managing medical data, EHR supports workflow management, hospital order administration, and data security.

Indian market
The India EHR market size estimated at ₹3850 crore in 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent is poised to reach ₹6630 crore in 2030.

The key players include DocEngage Informatics, Gem3s Technologies, NovoCura Tech Health Services, Practo Technologies, Cerner Healthcare, Epic Systems, Allscripts, McKesson, Meditech, Athenahealth, NextGen Healthcare, GE Healthcare and Drchrono.

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) has crossed the landmark of 20 crore digitally linked health records. Launched in September 2021, a significant milestone indeed. Under the ABDM, citizens create their ABHA (Ayushman Bharat Health Account) numbers, to which their digital health records get linked. by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. NeHA (National eHealth Authority for India) is responsible for standardization, storage, and exchange of EHRs of patients as part of the government’s Digital India program, its main goal being to establish data management, privacy, and security policies, guidelines, and patient health records under the statutory provisions. It is projected to act as a superior authority to ensure the security, confidentiality, and privacy of patient data while creating a centralized EMR repository for easy access to patient’s health history and situation by medical institutions.

All EHR technologies must comply with the EHR standards. These standards are largely based on the principles of data protection laid down under the Privacy Rules. MoHFW has established a Centre of Excellence, National Resource Centre for EHR Standards (NRCeS) at C-DAC, Pune, to accelerate and promote adoption of EHR standards. NRCeS is a single point of contact for assistance in developing, implementing, and using EHR standards in India. NRCeS provides the knowledge base for EHR standards and associated resources, and facilitates acceptance of and adherence to EHR standards. NRCeS offers different services to facilitate adoption of the entire set of notified EHR standards for India in healthcare applications.

The thrust on an increasingly digital healthcare industry the major key driver. In terms of the adoption of digital health technologies, India currently leads the world. The usage of digitization in the medical industry and the electronic medical industry will undoubtedly rise in the upcoming years as a result of the introduction of digital technologies in India, such as artificial intelligence (IA), machine learning, cloud computing, and others. In order to adapt and develop digital healthcare solutions, major businesses, hospitals, and organizations have invested large sums of money.

Another contributing element has been the relative ease of access to technology. With over 80 million smartphone users, and over 80 percent of healthcare professionals using EHRs in their practice, it leads to better quality of care and patient outcomes. Portable diagnostics, available on smartphones and tablets, are enabling the frontline health workers and technicians in early detection of diseases, such as breast and oral cancers. Doctors are able to treat patients more effectively with the use of her, thanks to easy and accurate data accessibility.

Benefits from EHR implementation and integration with their core operations are visible in hospitals. Through the value chain, the streamlining of the process decreases and stops revenue leaks.

By lowering administrative costs and improving data accuracy, long-term EHR use will result in cost savings. Clinical data gathering at the time of care increases productivity and boosts data quality. The regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical corporations use the data gathered to enhance the PMS (post-marketing surveillance) of medications. Considering all these factors, the Indian EHR market is set to grow in the coming years.

India has a low adoption of EHR when compared to the developed countries. There are a number of gaps between EHR vendors and doctors that contribute to the poor adoption rate. The apparent obstacle is a lack of knowledge of the advantages of EHR. The adoption rate is being hampered by the small- and medium-sized healthcare service providers’ general lack of knowledge about the benefits of EHR.

The adoption is hampered by the resistance to the new and innovative information technology platforms. Doctors, who form the backbone of the healthcare system, are resistant to EHR. The absence of compatible technology on the market is the main cause of this.

Global overview
The global electronic medical records market size estimated at USD 33.99 billion in 2022 has a CAGR of 6.3 percent.

Growth in healthcare information technology is significantly driving the growth of the electronic medical records market in healthcare. Electronic medical records are one of the significant applications that can be created, managed, and accessed by authorized staff within one healthcare organization for providing prompt healthcare services electronically. The rapid growth of electronic medical records adoption needs more development and simpler application that can be achieved through the advanced IT sector in the healthcare sector.

Incorporating AI to predict EHR-based clinical outcomes is shaping the electronic medical records market. AI is the robotic capacity of a computer to do activities that normally require human intelligence and judgment. AI is used in EMR to analyze, display, and comprehend complicated medical and healthcare data in a way that mimics human behaviour.

Some limitations
It is evident that EHRs are expected to improve even more in 2023 for both providers and patients. But there are still some limitations that are being faced in the current situation, says Dileep Gupta, director and co-founder, Appinventiv.

Utilizing mobile app solutions, the healthcare sector has enhanced its patient-centered strategy and is keeping patients’ health while delivering a positive user experience. With healthcare software development, it has become easier for patients to get access to quick medical care.

With the healthcare sector moving toward technology on a fast pace, the industry also needs to be aware of the risks associated with it. History is a witness to incidents where these types of technologies became prone to hackers because of being exposed to the internet without any security mechanism. Despite all the potential benefits that it provides, physicians still have a hard time adopting EHRs.

The most prevalent issue in the current healthcare sector is physical burnout. An estimated 50–60 percent of physicians have experienced burnout that resulted in lower patient satisfaction, reduced patient safety, and higher malpractice claims.

EHRs contribute to the burnout of physicians because of their hard-to-understand user interface. There is a significant amount of time required to feed the data in EHR systems. Due to this, physicians do not get enough time to work on communication with patients.

As a result, the quality of patient care is decreased and physicians also experience more stress and lower job satisfaction. Moreover, in multiple instances, EHRs are also said to be a financial burden on both providers and practitioners.

Interoperability is the capability of EHR software to provide data and information to other devices so that multiple users can make use of it. There are a number of issues standing in front of the complete adoption of interoperability in the healthcare sector:

The issues ripple down to the EHR systems as well, where challenges implementing electronic health records become a big problem because of a lack of interoperability between disparate systems.

To get a complete picture of a patient’s medical history, it is imperative for the systems to communicate efficiently with each other.

Communication of data in an EHR often gets delayed because of insufficient interoperability inside segments of a similar EHR or from the EHR to a different system. There can be cases, such as where clinicians could not get to labs for an emergency or a hospital patient from records held in a different part of the hospital.

It remains an immense test for healthcare app development company providers to build an interoperable framework that enables the exchange of data among multiple providers.

Numerous healthcare systems have started paying closer attention to technological developments, such as data standards, AI in healthcare, and predictive analytics, in order to create EHR processes that are more effective and to return the systems to their original purpose – improving patient care.

In addition to having a significant effect on society as a whole, technology development is also having an impact on the medical industry and, more specifically, electronic health records (EHRs).

But because technology is advancing so quickly, older tools must be updated and modified to stay up.

EHRs have come a long way since being just an electronic version of a patient’s chart. With advances in technology, such as AI, startups and companies are looking at EHRs with a fresh perspective. By using innovative and value-based approaches, EHRs are now being used as systems and data sources to produce more comprehensive output on a micro and macro level from a clinical, operational, and financial perspective. However, there is still a lot more to achieve, and the future holds numerous benefits for electronic health record systems, with a huge technology impact on EHR.

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