EHRs are effective as a repository for clinical data but don’t have the tools yet to fully support providers’ population health efforts. More mature data models are needed to integrate other data—such as financial and supply chain systems data—to be able to perform patient stratification, which is critical to managing risk in population health.
A key analytics component would be a health information exchange (HIE) that allows providers to share patient data and access patients’ health histories regardless of where they received. HIEs not only can help doctors make more informed treatment decisions—such as knowing the lab tests and results a patient has received to prevent redundant testing—but they are critical for public health analysis and research.
Providers should consider buying or acquiring data and data models through partnerships. Some providers have hired data scientists to build home-grown analytics and data models, but they recognize they can’t compete with the big EHR vendors.
Strategic implementers (i.e. organizations that made the move to EHRs as part of a broader business strategy) appear to recognize this and are more likely than other providers to say they will be using non-EHR technologies for population health in the next three years.