The Promise Of Electronic Healthcare Records
Online PR News – 04-October-2011 –Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) provide a single, consolidated virtual location to store all of a patient’s health information so it can be accessed by doctors and patients from anywhere in the world. Whether your doctor needs to see the results of your last physical performed in his office, or the MRI was taken in a far-off hospital when you broke your arm while on vacation hundreds of miles away, integrated electronic medical records can put that information in his hands in seconds. Electronic Health Records are all about remote access, up-to-date information, and superior communication among caregivers.
Like any tool, Electronic Healthcare Records need to be used properly in order to be effective. As EHR become more pervasive within the greater medical community, doctors, nurses, and patients will need to learn how to call up personal information, understand the data presented, and add too electronic files according to some set of common standards. According to Jon White, director of health information technology for the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, this process may take some effort. “The promise is that (Electronic Healthcare Records) are going to help us deliver better care with better outcomes,” he said. “But you can't just have an EMR – you have to learn to use the tools in the right way.” But one thing is certain, says White, “Electronic records help your doctor capture and manage your health information,” and that’s a good thing.
Many hospitals already use electronic record systems to provide accurate and current clinical information to help caregivers make the right decisions regarding a patient’s care. For example, the emergency room doctors at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation can use the hospital’s EHR system to pull up recommended patient treatment plans, created by a team of generalists and specialists at the Clinic, that aid the doctors in making appropriate care decisions. Internist C. Martin Harris, chairman of the Clinic's medical IT division, explains that “an ER doctor can pull up (a) protocol, and it will very quickly guide them through what needs to be done.” According to Harris, the EHR allows the clinic’s ER doctors to provide better care by allowing them to “assess the patient’s status and see exactly how the patient is performing.” Most importantly, this information is all made available in real time by the EHR system. Similar tools used nationwide also help hospitalists track performance measures ranging from hand-washing compliance to infections and medical errors. Without these tools, a hospital’s strengths and vulnerabilities might go unnoticed.