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January 2020

Aprima’s adaptive learning technology and the current AI/machine learning buzz                  

The healthcare IT world has a never-ending love for buzz words. Every year new favorites emerge, including terms like interoperability, analytics, business intelligence, population health management and patient engagement. Not too many years ago, the hottest industry terms included cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and even EMR and EHR.

Two of today’s most buzz-worthy healthcare IT terms are machine learning and artificial intelligence(AI). These phrases are frequently included in industry discussions and their use does not appear to be slowing down. Regardless of whether or not the industry has fully embraced AI and machine learning, the buzz words are now well-entrenched into today’s industry marketing-speak. 

AI and machine-learning defined

In case you aren’t up to speed on the terms, here are a couple of high level definitions. Merriam-Webster defines AI as “the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior,” while machine learning is considered “an application of AI that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.”

AI may be a new buzz-word, but it’s not new at Aprima!

At Aprima, we’ve coined the term “Adaptive Learning” to describe functionality that’s been part of our product since the late 1990s. In fact, our Adaptive Learning technology is a core component of our EHR and drives the product’s fast and easy-to-use documentation process – and falls under the umbrella of that hot, “new” technology, AI.  

How adaptive learning speeds documentation

One of the things our practices like most about our Adaptive Learning technology is how, from the moment a clinician begins documenting a patient visit, the system recognizes what is being captured and anticipates the likely next steps. For example, when a diagnosis of bronchitis is selected, the system displays relevant care options based on how the provider has historically treated bronchitis. With the Aprima EHR suggesting medications that the doctor is most likely to prescribe, offering test options, and possible patient instructions – the documentation speed is significantly increased based on how the doctor has cared for previous bronchitis patients.

Using Adaptive Learning technology, the Aprima EHR learns a clinician’s charting habits and automatically presents relevant information during the documentation process. The clinician does not need to sort through lists or multiple screens to find the most applicable information, greatly reducing the time spent entering data. Furthermore, by having the EHR immediately display the most relevant options, the complete visit can be documented with minimal effort.  

Other benefits of adaptive learning

In addition to reducing documentation time, consider how Aprima’s Adaptive Learning technology can help improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care. For example, a practice may rely on a team of providers to deliver care. As members of the same care team, everyone can easily follow the same best practices.

As the care team member enters a chart note, the system displays what it has learned to be the most relevant diagnoses based on the complaint and findings; preferred medications and follow-up therapies are also presented, based on the diagnosis. The entire practice can be assured that any provider has ready access to the practice’s standard care protocols, which have been developed and refined to achieve optimal clinical outcomes.

Aprima’s been buzzing awhile

We love the current buzz around AI and machine learning and all its “potential” advantages for healthcare. We are also proud to say that Aprima users have been recognizing the advantages of AI and our adaptive learning technology for almost two decades! 

Contact us to let us know how we can help.


November 2019

If you’re thinking about changing your software you’re not alone. According to the Medical Economics 2017 EHR Report Card, 62 percent of physician respondents indicated that they had already switched EHR systems at some point.  High level physicians and admins almost always begin the transition process by asking “What are the best practices for switching EHRs?”

The marketplace has partially answered where to start with an EHR switch, practices are demanding more user-friendly EHRs that offer better interoperability. In other instances, practices are searching for specific functionality to help them thrive. Often, the need to switch EHRs is driven by frustration that your current software impedes rather than speeds your workflow.

Undertaking an EHR switch can feel daunting—after all, it’s a big investment. You may be wondering:

  • How do I identify the need for an EHR switch?
  • What steps should I take to find the right vendor for my practice?
  • How can I best prepare my practice to make this change?

To help you on your journey, the following are our best practices for switching to a new EHR.

Focus on your functional requirements

Consider your daily workflow. What types of capabilities does your practice need from an EHR? Of course, physicians want mobile capabilities, e-prescribing and integration with billing systems but it’s also important to look at the functional needs of your specific practice. List each functionality you want and create a scorecard to rate how well each vendor’s solution can meet your needs. Be sure to ask for input from people in a variety of roles at your practice.

Keep emerging needs in mind

Identify EHR software that helps you use data analytics to benefit both your patients and your practice. From population health management to merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) reporting that helps practices receive reimbursement for value-based care, your EHR’s capabilities should offer both the tools and the interfaces that allow you to leverage the power of data. Your practice will also want an EHR with strong internal reporting functionality that allows you to create custom queries and leverage your data in the real world.

Be sure you’re in a position to Promote Interoperability

When evaluating new EHR software, ask how the candidate system operates with regard to interfaces with labs and hospitals in your area, how well it handles referral management, and does it support the newer initiatives evolving for on demand data requests such as Commonwell, Carequality, and Surescripts National Record Locator and Exchange.  This is important with regard to the CMS Promoting Interoperability, a component of MIPS, compliance guidelines.  You can read more about how we help our practices with MACRA/MIPS here.

Seek a vendor with a proven track record of success

Identify potential EHR vendors by reviewing published ranking lists and awards from third parties such as KLAS Research.  Insight from your peers is also valuable and can be attained by attending industry conferences, or talking to other physicians in your specialty.

Verify ease-of-use

An EHR that checks all the boxes on paper may not necessarily perform to your expectations in practice. When you demo the system, make sure it fits into YOUR workflow versus changing how you practice to accommodate the software. A great EHR is designed with the user in mind, helping you work the way you want to and reducing the time you spend on routine tasks.     

Enlist a variety of power users to give the EHR a test drive

A system that works well for a physician may have shortcomings that only the administrative or billing staff can detect. Conversely, the same EHR that your office manager loves, may also be the EHR the physician loathes. After you’ve developed a shortlist of EHR products to test, gather people from different areas of your practice to test the EHR for issues. Be sure everyone is on board with the same EHR before making your final decision. Keep in mind that not everyone may get exactly what they want, a little give and take may be necessary in choosing the best solution overall for the organization.

Confirm the availability of responsive customer support

When you have questions concerning your EHR, you want answers as quickly as possible. Ask EHR vendors whether they have a U.S.-based support team available during regular office hours and, again, look at published lists and rankings that detail the vendor’s approach to support.

Don’t skimp on training

Proper training is essential for every EHR user. Not only can it help reduce the frustration of adapting to a new system, it can help users become proficient more quickly—lessening the impact on your practice and patients. The vendor you choose should offer robust training options to help you experience a smooth implementation. Although everyone who uses the system must attend training, it is also valuable to select a person or persons depending on the size of your practice to be a “super-user” who will cross train on clinical, billing, and admin capabilities.

Invest in long-term gain

Although switching your practice’s EHR system is a major undertaking, the gains achieved by increased interoperability, more easily sharing patient data and reducing administrative workload can reap long-term benefits. Find the EHR that’s the right fit for your practice and focus on the future. Also be sure to consider the experience of the potential vendors in assisting practices in making a change. The path to successful change can be bumpy, but experience and proven processes can avoid many of the potholes along the way.

Your next step is to add Aprima to your shortlist.  Our track record of industry praise, long-term client retention (98% of practices have remained customers after 10 years!), and expertise in helping practices switch EHRs make Aprima an EHR you should know!

Contact us to let us know how we can help.