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What is smart EHR, and what does it mean for the future of care delivery?

No longer a static means to collect and observe critical patient information, today’s systems of electronic health records (EHR) have evolved into integrated models of personalized care delivery. The era of smart EHR (a.k.a., intelligent EHR) has arrived. But what does it mean—how did we get here, and what does it mean for the future of care delivery in the United States?

How we got here: From Web 3.0 to EHR 3.0

In a recent article in Forbes called “The EHR is Dead. Long Live the EHR Platform,” Summit Health Managing Director Seth Joseph traces the journey of EHRs through the past few decades. Yet what he calls an experience that’s “largely been a disappointment (to put it lightly),” may also be a simple failure to let EHR technology reach its full potential.

That potential is arguably just now being realized, in the form of smart EHR—or EHR 3.0, as I like to call it, because of its symmetry with the evolution of the Internet. In Web 3.0, those changes came about to make commerce easier and more engaging. Using those same models of big data and IoT (the Internet of Things), smart EHR can now offer patients and providers a less cumbersome, more intuitive and ultimately more helpful experience.

Like Web 1.0, EHR 1.0 was essentially a replacement for the traditional static model that we associate with print. The chief problem with EHR 1.0 was a lack of interoperability in a very highly fragmented system. EHR 1.0 had another problem—low adoption. Nonetheless, the switch from paper to electronic systems was a huge step forward.

Then came EHR 2.0. Built around workflows and the concept of meaningful use, EHR 2.0 was about streamlining the referral process, the intake process, claim submissions and remits, reporting, and other important processes. Much more successful than the first generation, EHR 2.0 has seen almost 90% adoption in many care settings.

But there were still problems. Interoperability is an issue with EHR 2.0, and data largely remains siloed. This is changing as pockets of clinical decision support emerge, along with new networks like CommonWell and Carequality. Standards are evolving. And, finally, the stage is set for EHR 3.0, or “smart EHR.”

How smart EHR is evolving to meet healthcare’s biggest challenges

The evolution of the Internet happened because of shifting needs from consumers and businesses alike. And so too has smart EHR developed as a response to meet the healthcare industry’s most pressing challenges:

  • The shift to peripheralized care in the home and community
  • An increased need for patient engagement
  • A heightened need for chronic disease management and remote patient monitoring
  • A narrowing referral network for providers, with more risk-based contracts
  • The need to handle high-acuity patients in many facilities that may not be used to doing so

All of these challenges have only been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. And they can all be addressed, in some form or another, by smart EHR. By providing new insights into levers that organizations can pull to further personalize things like shift personalization, to patient/client matching, to optimized route scheduling, to pay increments, and more, intelligent EHR is showing itself to be not just useful, but a driving force in the evolution of care delivery.

And that’s where we are today. Stay tuned as we continue to share our vision for the evolution of EHR 3.0.

Request a demo today to learn more about how MatrixCare can help your facility leverage the benefits of an integrated, smart EHR system.


Navin Gupta
Navin Gupta

Navin joined MatrixCare in 2016 as senior director, software engineering and moved to his current role, Senior Vice President, Home & Hospice Division, in September 2018. He brings strong leadership skills and an interdisciplinary background of business and technology. With more than 20 years’ experience in different domains (healthcare, security and telecommunication), he has participated in leading existing and new product introductions on various platforms. Before joining MatrixCare, Navin held technical and management positions with Philips Healthcare, United Technologies and Siemens at various locations in India, Germany and USA. He holds an MBA from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University, a masters in MIS from Florida State University, and a bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from Bangalore University.


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