As COVID-19 continues to unfurl within the United States, the worst may still be ahead for the nation. The pressure is on electronic health record providers to ensure their software is updated and ready to assist healthcare workers tackle the challenge of curtailing the coronavirus.
Electronic health records do so much more than record information on a patient's condition, they increase productivity and efficiency of clinicians, improve care of patients, and lessen the burden on healthcare systems. The need for clear lines of communications across the continuum of care has never been more critical than during this coronavirus pandemic. In support of that goal, Epic Systems, Allscripts and athenahealth have deployed updated versions to optimize their software amid the novel virus outbreak.
“Biocontainment experts, infectious disease physicians and researchers, and other clinicians are working with Epic to help healthcare organizations meet the challenges of this outbreak with confidence,” the company wrote in a release.
Epic is using its Care Everywhere network to ensure Epic users and other vendor users can communicate information about potential exposure risks, patient travel screening information, and infection status. Additionally, the patient portal enables people under social distancing restrictions to receive a medical diagnosis from their own homes. They can access services like video-conferencing appointments, e-visit contact, and messaging options so patients can receive treatment without having to attend an already overcrowded hospital.
Not to be outdone, Allscripts is working hard to help clinicians stay ahead of the curve with its virtual triaging tool that screens patients into one of four categories. The first category dictates that no further intervention required while the remaining three have patients shuttled to a virtual telehealth waiting room that offers email messaging, phone contact, or instructions to attend a testing facility for those with the most severe conditions.
“The spread of COVID-19 is putting a significant strain on our country’s healthcare system, as everyone on the front lines is working incredibly hard to combat the disease,” said Paul Black, CEO of Allscripts. “We’re proud to stand beside our clients as we fight this global threat and unprecedented challenge for 21st-century healthcare delivery."
As for athenahealth, the firm recently rolled out a series of software updates meant to help clinicians make quicker healthcare decisions. The mission is to streamline the workflow process with nightly software updates that enhance existing tools with order sets, social history questions, and other options that reflect the most current understanding of the coronavirus outbreak. The medical reference application, epocrates, is also revised to ensure providers have the latest CDC direction to make informed decisions. athenahealth is also making the COVID-19 commercial lab tests available for ordering within its application.
Along with other efforts to create at-home coronavirus testing kits and the development of a voice-enabled coronavirus virtual assistant, health-tech continues to play an essential role in the management of the virus. EHRs are no exception and will need to stay agile to respond to rapidly emerging events.