December 19, 2022
The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that in 2019 the specialties with the largest number of active physicians were the primary care specialties of internal medicine (120,171 physicians), family medicine/general practice (118,198), and pediatrics (60,618). Most of these professionals use electronic health records software on a daily basis, but does its basic functionality work for all of them?
The major differences between pediatric and general-use EHR include enhanced interoperability with record-keeping systems for educational and recreational organizations, role-based access for a child's family members, and a wide set of field-specific functions (immunization schedules, newborn screenings, growth charts, etc.) The functional composition and data format for this type of EHR is regulated by the Children’s Electronic Health Record Format.
According to the Journal of Pediatrics, more than 80% of pediatricians use EHRs lacking optimal functionality, which negatively impacts the quality of children’s medical care.
adopted some kind of EHR
Journal of Pediatrics
are using EHRs with optimal functionality
Journal of Pediatrics
Errors in clinical decisions, misdiagnosis, and miscalculations in medication dosages can all be the result of an EHR system implemented in the wrong setting. In this article, EHR developers explain what a pediatric-specific EHR should look like and share some tips for its successful implementation.
While most pediatricians still implement general-practice EHR systems, specialized software can boost their performance and help cut the time doctors spend on administrative tasks, according to the 2021 research conducted by representatives of Stanford University’s School of Medicine. Moreover, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality cites another study that suggests EHRs lacking pediatrics-specific functionality could threaten patient safety. Also, pediatric EHRs can help healthcare professionals with the challenges they face in children’s health care.
Pediatricians might overlook some potential health problems if they don’t have a clear view of children’s physical and psychological growth and development dynamics.
Pediatricians can put data in EMR during every visit, and the child's caregiver can do so as well via the patient portal. Then, a comprehensive growth/ development chart can be accessed through the doctor’s dashboard.
Clinical (pediatric) workflows
Reporting and analytics
Secure data exchange
Pediatric EHRs have many features similar to general-use EHRs. These modules, however, could not fully cover the everyday needs of a pediatric practice. This is why AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have developed the Children’s Electronic Health Record Format which describes the critical functionality, data elements, and other field-specific requirements for pediatric EHRs. Moreover, pediatric EHRs’ functionality can be enhanced with the help of third-party integrations.
The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly digitized, so the number of software tools medical professionals use on a daily basis is growing. In order to protect patient data sufficiently while maintaining efficient operations and accurate patient records, healthcare software must be interoperable. EHR often becomes the heart of the hospital ecosystem and integrates with other software based on the organization’s needs. Here’s a list of hospital applications pediatric EHRs are commonly integrated with:
with EHR allow pediatricians providing remote care to have the child’s health records on hand during the pediatric virtual care session and share the meeting and treatment information with other professionals: family doctors, nurses, caregivers, and school or camp healthcare personnel.
Most seasoned vendors offer on-premise or cloud-based EHR systems geared towards pediatric organizations. However, many of them are just general-use EHRs with a couple of add-ons. We recommend choosing a solution that was developed as a pediatric one at its core.
Arguably the largest EHR vendor, Epic offers a cloud-based solution that has all the essential functionality of a standard system and a variety of add-on modules relevant to pediatricians. The company has recently cooperated with PediNotes to enhance its functionality with pediatric practice management, neonatal/infant-focused features, data analytic capabilities, and pediatrics-specific information. This software is most suitable for large and medium practices, while smaller pediatric care providers might turn to cheaper systems with less advanced functionality.
Image title: Epic EHR
Data source: emrfinder.com — Epic EMR Software, 2022
When it comes to choosing EHR, pediatric providers are faced with multiple options, which can be very confusing, especially for professionals who have never used any kind of EHR before. We recommend using the guide below as a starting point to learn what exactly you are looking for in your pediatric EHR software.
What to consider when choosing a pediatric EHR solution
Outline your practice’s main workflows and decide which points can be improved with the help of EHR. Furthermore, you can draft a list of requirements for the system and start looking for corresponding features in the software currently on the market.
Check if the system you are considering complies with industry regulations. Pediatric EHR must be HIPAA-compliant and have data encryption and other advanced security mechanisms to protect your patients’ data. You also need to consider the desired backup model and check if your EHR of choice supports it.
Your practice is going to grow over years, new technologies will emerge, and you may need to add more features and integrate additional software with your EHR. Therefore, choose a system that is easy to integrate with third-party software and can be expanded or upgraded with additional modules.
Make sure to discuss the implementation budget, including the hidden costs, with your tech partner. Besides, you might need to allocate parts of the implementation budget for hardware, software or network upgrades, personnel training, EHR integration with other tools, and user support and training.
Keep your personnel informed about the future EHR. Take into account their opinion on the desired functionality and interface. If you’re on the lookout for your first EHR, it’s wise to choose a vendor with plenty of comprehensive training material and good customer support.
Children’s health data is highly sensitive, and a pediatric practice can face huge penalties in case it gets compromised. Luckily, there are a number of techniques and activities that help safeguard data stored in a pediatric EHR.
Despite bringing many benefits to healthcare organizations, pediatric EHRs may pose quite a few challenges for its adopters.
Research shows that pediatricians find themselves under more pressure after EHR software has been widely implemented. Despite spending less time during and after clinical hours getting digital documentation in order than general practitioners, pediatricians still report information overload, click and alert fatigue, and feeling burnt out after using EHRs.
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued some documentation that includes requirements for pediatric EHRs but hasn’t provided a comprehensive technical report or policy statement that covers all areas of EHR software application.
Data is often stored in EHRs in a format that is not transferable and readable by other systems. Though there's been significant progress in healthcare interoperability in recent years, pediatricians who use legacy software struggle to connect it to their EHR.
Each medical specialty faces unique challenges and tasks, and in many cases general-use electronic health record solutions can’t meet them all. There are many EHRs to choose from that can enhance health care delivery and reduce the administrative workload for pediatric clinicians. Before implementing a pediatric EHR solution, it’s vital you determine the functionality and data security features your hospital needs. Afterward, make sure to follow best implementation practices to reap the most benefits from your system. Implementing EHR in pediatrics is not an easy task and requires experts' insights. Itransition is ready to help, offering professional EHR consulting and development services.
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