EHR providers may offer clinical documentation measures to approximately seven of ten hospitals

by | Jan 22, 2023

An AJMC study found that the proportion of smaller EHR suppliers offering access to clinical documentation metrics has increased recently. Over 10,000 nonfederal acute care hospitals participated in a nationally representative survey over four waves between 2017 and 2021, which was examined by researchers. Tools for clinical documentation time metrics have primarily been developed in recent years by businesses with a significant market share. However, between 2017 and 2021, the proportion of smaller EHR companies offering these capabilities to their clients more than doubled.

The difference between small, critical access, rural, and independent hospitals and their better-resourced counterparts in terms of the availability of measures has not changed. Compared to their bigger, urban counterparts, smaller, rural hospitals were consistently less likely to track or employ EHR documentation time measurements. The authors hypothesized that their choice of inferior EHR vendors may have contributed to the measure availability disparity.

The authors hypothesized that increased adoption of cutting-edge data standards could make it simpler for EHR vendors who aren’t market leaders to develop clinical documentation time measurements for clients. Currently, the creation and implementation of audit logs for usage in health IT systems is not subject to any requirements for EHR suppliers to adhere to data standards.

Authors of the study commented on the future, explaining: “However, as the use of these more advanced standards for audit logs increases, leveraging audit log data for secondary purposes—such as the development of tools for tracking documentation time and optimizing EHRs—should become simpler…Such advancements may enable non–market-leading developers to generate and make these types of tools more accessible to their clients, including hospitals with fewer resources that are more likely to be using smaller developers,” they added.

Smaller EHR suppliers may eventually be compelled to provide such tools in response to rising client demand for clinical documentation time measurements. The fact that these metrics are being used more frequently over time suggests that hospitals would benefit from having access to this information. For instance, hospitals used EHR documentation time measurements significantly more frequently between 2017 and 2021 for efficiency-related reasons. The usage of tools for attempts to lessen clinician burden increased as well.

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