In order to design a new generation EHR, it is necessary to start from the real needs of the users and involve them in the design.
Compared to the past, it is necessary to radically change the approach to create a really useful Electronic Health Record (EHR), to avoid repeating the mistakes already made.
First of all, it is necessary to understand who new generation EHR users are or could be. Certainly, health professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc..) and patients, but also health facilities and regions with regard to clinical and epidemiological studies.
Once the users have been defined, it would therefore be necessary to ask them what functions they would like to obtain from the EHR. Very general objective of sharing documents and clinical information is not enough any longer. It would be necessary to go into depth, detailing the real needs of professionals and patients.
While carrying out this analysis it is also important to evaluate and profile the different cases or patients’ categories that you want to manage with the EHR. The functions required to manage a chronic patient, such as a diabetic or hypertensive, are very different from those required for a healthy person aged 40, whose focus must be on prevention.
Beyond the simple sharing of clinical information, which should represent a set of common functions, we should think about how to “specialize” the new generation EHR to meet the users’ needs, which should also be assessed on the basis of the importance of the cases from which they derive.
Both professionals and patients do not need simple access to information, especially if it is contained in documents. They need functions that, starting from the information contained in the EHR, can add value and be useful to users. For example, specialized clinical dashboards, decision support and clinical risk analysis tools for the doctors, and educational content, as well as therapy management tools for the patients.
In the design of a new generation EHR, users should be free to express their needs, regardless of the current situation at an early stage. Once the needs have been expressed, it will therefore be necessary to understand how they can be reconciled with the regulatory, organisational and privacy aspects.
But we’ll talk about this in a future article.