“The most amazing thing about 21st century medicine is that it’s held together by 19th century paperwork,” Thompson said. “Health information technology promises huge benefits, and we need to move quickly across many fronts to capture these benefits.” (Still, 2005)
In today’s world of technology, things sometimes seem a little crazy and out of control. And I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to technology and all its advances and gidgets and gadgets, I hesitate. But after doing research on electronic medical records (EMR), there isn’t much reason to hesitate. In the next few pages, I will be touching base on some very beneficial factors relating to electronic medical records.
Let’s start with time. Electronic medical records will save time. The average provider spends between 50-70% of their time documenting. Detailed notes can take 5-7 minutes per patient and with electronic medical records it takes 2-4 minutes (Electronic Medical Records Benefits).
Electronic medical records save lives. Studies show that doctors and hospitals with access to electronic records have significantly fewer deaths attributed to medical error (Ideas Changing the World, 2008). Up to 10% facility orders and 15% pharmacy prescriptions are illegible resulting in up to 150 million clarification calls to pharmacists and prescribers (Electronic Medical Records Benefits). “Doctors are straight-A students in virtually every subject taught in school-except handwriting.” (Still, 2005) The safety alerts, built into many electronic medical record systems, may draw attention to life-threatening situations. Or with electronic medical records, doctors are alerted instantly to any potentially dangerous medical interactions or conditions of a patient (Maine, 2009). Medication errors in nursing homes are underestimated and cause 98,000 healthcare deaths each year. Electronic medical record software prevents medication errors occurring when clinicians adjust medications without a current medication list or based on incomplete, outdated or inaccurate patient information (Electronic Medical Records Benefits).
Electronic medical records can also enable the study of data from an entire population in ways not previously possible: allowing conditions to be analyzed to determine what treatments work and what do not, finding patterns of care that are more effective, and defining the cost-effectiveness of various techniques and approaches for optimal care. By being able to track larger amounts of data that ever before, medical teams can track vital information and data without the need for costly and time-consuming voluntary studies. Lives might be saved by following and analyzing diagnosis and treatment across a large group of patients and new solutions could be discovered through new found research (Maine, 2009).
Electronic medical records are portable. Participants will have access to their medical records wherever they go (Ideas Changing the World, 2008). Not only are they portable to patients, but to doctors as well. Doctors can look up a patient’s medical history, allergies, medications etc. anywhere in the world, allowing better care if the patient gets sick or is unconscious away from home (McCoppin, 2009). Without linked records, specialists may not know about existing conditions that could alter your prognosis, or may not notice when you’ve missed an important diagnostic test (Blue, 2009).
As you can see, there are many benefits to electronic medical records and I just touched on a few of them. As in everything, there are cons to EMR, also, but when you look at the big picture, the pros outweigh the cons.
Blue, L. (2009, August 7). Electronic records can save lives. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Time Inc.: www.wellness.blogs.time.com
Electronic Medical Records Benefits. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2010, from SEA-EMR: www.sea-emr.com
Ideas Changing the World. (2008, June 12). Retrieved January 28, 2010, from National Center For Policy Analysis: www.ncpa.org
Maine, D. (2009). Electronic Medical Records May Save Lives. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Article Banker: www.articlebanker.com
McCoppin, R. (2009, April 13). Electronic health records can save lives, threaten privacy. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from Daily Herald: www.dailyherald.com
Still, T. (2005, February 8). Electronic health records cab save lives and improve medical care. Retrieved January 28, 2010, from WTN News: www.wisetechnology.com