Integrating device data with EHRs requires focus on governance, privacy

Remote patient monitoring is on the rise, but the challenges to flowing outside data into existing electronic health records are substantial. In the Journal of AHIMA, Kapila Monga, associate director of healthcare analytics at Cognizant Technology Solutions spotlights five key areas health information management professionals should stay focused on to optimize the integration of remote device data with electronic health records.

Data integrity. It’s critical, of course, that HIM staff determine “if, where and how” the myriad types of real-time device data – heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, glucose – be streamed in the EHR system, said Monga. But just as important “is the traceability of information back to point of collection,” she said. Some of that challenge will be solved by technology as EHR systems evolve to accommodate the new imperatives of telemedicine. But HIM professionals will always have a central part to play when it comes to ensuring that remote health data is helping provide better care “without compromising the integrity of the EHR.”

[Also: Hospitals can make medical devices up to 70% safer, Mayo exec says]

Information usage. Connected health devices have one job: transmitting patient information back to the provider on a near-constant basis. It’s up to HIM pros to figure out just when and how all that data will be put to work. As “gatekeepers” of this information, they’re key to determining just what rules and alerts will be brought to bear on this massive stream of information, helping clinicians set up the right protocols, depending on the patient. “A sudden increase in sugar level for a non-diabetic person might not be an alarm, and could be just attributed to a sweet indulgence on the part of the individual, while the same spike in blood sugar for a diabetic patient could be a call for action,” said Monga.

Confidentiality. For all the potential clinical benefits of real-time 24/7 data streaming, it’s “a ticking time bomb when…

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