Healthcare
Information Management

Constructing an integrated EHR

The most important aspect that renovating a house and EHR programme management share: you get to work with people.
Thomas Haspeslagh

Most of our friends think we’re crazy: our house, which is barely five years old, is up for sale! The house meets all of our requirements, has a large garden, and each of the children has their own bedroom. On top of that, it has an EPC certificate with a score of 19 – for the uninitiated, that means we have been entirely self-sufficient in terms of heating and electricity for the past five years. So why are we selling? Well, five years have passed, and both our needs as residents and the context have changed.

Likewise, to keep up the quality level of our work, to keep anticipating the expectations of both patients and care providers, an integrated EHR is essential to be able to keeping up to speed with the changing context. The Belgian Meaningful Use Criteria (or the EHR building regulations if you want) do become a little more ambitious with each passing year. When considered from an external perspective, all of this seems quite logical. Energy neutrality or complete digitization – with all their clear benefits – are an obvious aspect of any future vision. In practice, a healthy dose of professional expertise and field knowledge is needed to meet all requirements in good time.

However, expertise by itself is not enough: a floor plan or project plan is an essential condition to be able to start a project. Sticking to this initial plan come what may can lead to a complete standstill. A suitable response to changing circumstances – and open communication about such a response – are highly likely to prevent a window frame being fitted in the wrong place or an electronic prescription going astray. The window sliding within that frame, or the interaction check on the prescription, can also provide a great view of the surroundings, or the medication plan. They open up perspectives that we didn’t know about before the change, and which we couldn’t appreciate as a result. These changes are the driving force behind renovations, as well as behind an EHR programme manager’s continued motivation.

Which brings me to the most important aspect that renovating a house and EHR programme management share: you get to work with people. You get the chance to collaborate with various contractors or experts. Each has their own field of expertise and can provide incredible added value to the project, if they are aware of their contribution to the bigger picture. Technical aspects are always looming around the corner, but never take priority over the convenience and comfort provided by the house or the ease of use of the EHR. Close consultation with the others living in your home or with care providers enables you to get a clear picture of your entire household or current file management system, so you can make sure the renovated house or EHR are operating as efficiently as possible. If you’re working on the premise of a self-driving car – or the automatic upload of all required information to the cancer register – you no longer need to plan for a garage or a printout of the data.

Renovation and EHR programme management are currently converging in my life – and as far as I’m concerned, they can keep doing so in the years to come!

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Thomas Haspeslagh