Guidelines must adhere to a rigorous, transparent, evidence-based methodology and contain explicit, actionable recommendations to ensure acceptance and facilitate implementation by clinicians and health care delivery systems. In addition to these core requirements, guidelines must be implemented in clinical practice to deliver better health outcomes for our patients. Use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is an effective way to embed guidance at the point of care and impact clinical care. Most EHR tools are aimed at clinicians and health care delivery system staff. However, interactive EHR tools aimed at patients that enhance patient engagement in their health care have great potential. Examples of the various types of EHR tools used in Kaiser Permanente will be presented. The characteristics of the various EHR tools available that are associated with their rate of use and their impact will be explored. The concept of EHR content implementation lifecycle will be presented. Each stage in this lifecycle is important: Requirements Definition, Design, Develop/Build, Deploy/Champion; Measure/Evaluate; Maintain/Revise. As an example of Requirements Definition, careful planning and management are necessary to ensure that EHR tools are focused on key points in the clinical pathways to address root causes of performance gaps, and support clinical workflows.
The EHR is a powerful tool to embed guidance and affect clinical care. But effective use of EHR tools also requires strong support from organisational leadership, centralised coordinated governance, and collaboration with end-users. EHR tools must be integrated into the larger health care delivery system’s infrastructure, to be effective in supporting and impacting clinical care.
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