The head of global healthcare software giant Epic Systems is calling for electronic health records to undergo a name change — from EHR to CHR — to reflect their evolving role in data capture and preventive care.
 
According to CEO Judy Faulkner, it is time to drop the redundant ‘E’.
 
“‘E’ has to go away now. It’s all electronic,” Faulkner said at the company’s user group meeting in late September.
 
Referring to the technology as a comprehensive health record would more accurately describe its function in an era of expanding use of wearables, genomics, online pharmaceutical reminder services, digital GP services and much more.
 
“We have to knock the walls down, whether they’re the walls of the hospital or the walls of the clinic,” she said.
 
“If you want to keep patients well and you want to get paid, you’re going to have to have a comprehensive health record.
 
“You’ll need to use software as your central nervous system, and that’s how you standardise and manage your organisation.”
 
When Faulkner made the comments, they made something of a splash. She said this week the letter change represents a significant shift in thinking.
 
“Because healthcare is now focusing on keeping people well rather than reacting to illness, we are focusing on factors outside the traditional walls,” Faulkner told the US edition of Healthcare IT News.  
 
She said it was a necessary shift for a number of reasons.
 
“The first is that there’s information that’s not in the EHRs now. The second one is care that is not in the hospital but has to be part of the picture,” Faulkner said.
 
In contrast to today’s EHRs, the CHR would integrate many more types of data, including social determinants about what people eat, how much they sleep, if they are obese and whether they are lonely — all factors that can impact on an individual’s health.  
 
The big question is whether Epic has adopted the use of CHR?
 
“Yes,” she said. “We think it should be the new terminology, replacing EHR.”
 
According to the company, hospitals that use its software hold the medical records of 54 per cent of patients in the United States and 2.5 per cent of patients worldwide.
 
— with Lynne Minion.