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What Is an EHR Platform?

April 12, 2022
illustration of ehr platform and connected technologies

Innovative digital technologies in the healthcare field are enhancing every aspect of healthcare delivery, providing secure and seamless flows of information between patients and healthcare providers. When a provider collects clinical data on a patient, it is stored in electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs are created, managed and reviewed on an EHR platform designed to share information across a full spectrum of healthcare organizations. Reaching far beyond the original point of EHR data collection, EHR platforms are built to securely share information with every provider involved in a patient's care, and with the patients themselves.1

Keep reading to learn more specifically about what an EHR platform is and the benefits it creates for patients, care providers and Health Informatics professionals.

The Basics of an EHR Platform

Shared information is a powerful asset for the entire team involved in a patient's healthcare. A communal EHR platform enables interactive communication between multiple parties, such as general practitioners, medical specialists, emergency and urgent care facilities, school and workplace clinics, medical imaging facilities, laboratories and pharmacies.2

The basic capabilities of an EHR platform include:3

  • Full hardware functionality on all common computers and smart devices
  • Full software functionality on all common operating systems
  • Convenient database functions for collecting clinical data
  • Multiple reporting functions for documenting patient visits
  • Secure data import functions for acquiring shared EHR data from other sources
  • Secure data export functions for sharing EHR data with other sources

In addition to enhancing the view of a patient's care and overall health, an EHR platform provides vital services, such as:2

  • Documenting patient medical history, immunizations, allergies, laboratory and test results, medical images, diagnoses, treatment plans and medications
  • Offering providers access to analytics and other digital tools for evidence-based decision making
  • Streamlining and automating provider processes and workflows

EHR Benefits for Patients

EHR platforms make real-time, patient-centered information securely and instantly available to all authorized users, including patients.4 Patients having access to accurate and complete information from their care providers enhances communication, enables collaboration and ensures higher-quality care.5

Examples of patient health information stored on an EHR platform include:6

  • Administrative, insurance and billing data
  • Allergies
  • Diagnoses
  • Immunizations and dates
  • Laboratory and test results
  • Medical histories
  • Medications
  • Patient demographics
  • Progress notes
  • Radiology images
  • Vital signs

Besides collecting point-of-care patient information, an EHR platform provides many additional benefits to patients, such as:7

  • Appointment reminders
  • Appointment summaries and follow-up information
  • Convenient electronic prescriptions and refill requests
  • Electronic referrals for easier access to specialists
  • Important healthcare notifications
  • Patient portals for messaging providers
  • Reduced need for filling out forms

With so many resources and points of connections at their fingertips, patients receive the best possible care from providers with EHR platforms, leading to better medical experiences and ultimately, better patient outcomes.7

EHR Benefits for Health Care Providers

EHR platforms help make healthcare more convenient for patients and providers alike. With complete and accurate information available whenever they need it, providers can make better-informed decisions about patient care.7 Shared information is especially important for improving coordination between multiple providers caring for a patient (e.g., someone who broke their foot and needs to see an orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist, and physical therapist). By integrating and organizing the patient's health information, an EHR platform facilitates instant data distribution and alerts to a patient's entire healthcare team.8

Additionally, healthcare providers with EHR platforms report improvements in the management of their medical practices. Benefits include increased efficiencies and decreased costs from the following advantages:9

  • Reduced costs for chart storage, pulling and re-filing
  • Reduced medical transcription costs
  • Reduced medical errors with automated error prevention alerts
  • Automated clinical documentation and orders
  • Automated coding capabilities
  • Centralized chart management with condition-specific queries
  • Electronic communication with pharmacies
  • Enhanced communication between clinicians, labs and health plans
  • Improved disease management and patient education resources
  • Integrated scheduling systems, linking appointments to summaries, automated coding and claims management

EHR platforms benefit providers by offering reliable and accurate access to a comprehensive picture of a patient's healthcare history. As a result, providers can reduce errors, improve patient safety, diagnose patient needs quicker and facilitate better patient outcomes.10

Benefits for Health Informatics Professionals

EHR platforms offer a myriad of advantages to health informatics (HI) professionals by facilitating the collection, organization and distribution of healthcare information. HI specialists use their knowledge of EHRs, information systems, databases and IT security to gather, analyze, catalog, and qualify the massive amounts of patient and provider healthcare data generated.

Currently, about 94% of U.S. hospitals have adopted EHRs, contributing to the mountain of healthcare-related Big Data.11 When specialists apply healthcare analytics to this data, it's easily converted into relevant and timely insights. Providers use these insights to help foresee and prevent problems, reduce duplication of forms, tests and treatments, streamline care and improve patient outcomes.

At Kaiser Permanente, for example, HI professionals implemented HealthConnect, a new EHR platform promoting the use and exchange of electronic health records across all of its medical facilities. Besides significantly improving outcomes in patients with cardiovascular disease, HealthConnect saved Kaiser Permanente an estimated $1 billion in costs for office visits and lab tests.12

In another example, the HI experts at Optum Labs created predictive analytics tools to improve patient care delivery. With the goal of achieving the "Triple Aim of improved outcomes, reduced costs and an improved patient experience," they developed a database and tools for storing and analyzing the EHRs of over 30 million patients. Now, healthcare providers using Optum Labs' advanced analytics are making split-second data-driven decisions and are predicting and preventing the onset or progress of some health conditions.13

Leading-edge careers in Health Informatics are very well-paying and job growth is exploding. With a master's degree in Health Informatics, you could qualify for any of the following senior positions:14

  • Director of Analytics ($135,000 average annual wage)
  • Data Scientist ($156,250)
  • Clinical Informatics Manager ($117,000)
  • Clinical Informatics Specialist ($88,000)
  • Health Information Manager ($80,000)
  • Clinical Applications Specialist—Diagnostics ($71,000)

Become a Health Informatics Pro

Focused on leading-edge digital technologies, health informatics is reshaping the healthcare industry by developing innovative solutions to persistent challenges in fields like patient care, public health and biomedical science. If you're a current Health Informatics student or someone pursuing a senior-level career in HI, Kent State's online Master of Science in Health Informatics prepares you to master the technologies that integrate analytics throughout the healthcare value chain.

Our affordable and flexible 100% online Master's in HI is designed to meet your needs and schedule while helping advance your skill sets and expertise. Combining real-world experiences and case studies from the field, our accomplished practitioner faculty integrate theory and practice in our state-of-the-art curriculum. If you're ready to become a leading-edge health informatics expert, contact us here and get started today.

  1. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/buzz-blog/electronic-health-and-medical-records/emr-vs-ehr-difference
  2. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/faq/what-electronic-health-record-ehr
  3. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthcareitnews.com/blog/ehr-platform-not-application
  4. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/topic/health-it-and-health-information-exchange-basics/benefits-ehrs
  5. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/topic/health-it-and-health-information-exchange-basics/increase-patient-participation-their-care
  6. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/faq/what-information-does-electronic-health-record-ehr-contain
  7. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/topic/health-it-and-health-information-exchange-basics/improved-patient-care-using-ehrs
  8. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from healthit.gov/topic/health-it-and-health-information-exchange-basics/improve-care-coordination
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  11. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from modernhealthcare.com/operations/onc-names-hospitals-using-ehr-data-most-clinical-practice
  12. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-big-data-revolution-in-us-health-care
  13. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from modernhealthcare.com/technology/precision-and-performance
  14. Retrieved on March 06, 2022, from onlinedegrees.kent.edu/ischool/health-informatics/careers