Many medical professionals and institutions invest very heavily on expensive diagnostic equipment. However, when it comes to keeping medical records related to the same, a pretty good number of them still rely on pen and paper. That’s why many governments are currently offering incentives to medical practitioners to switch to electronic medical record keeping.
Why would governments take such steps? Analysts believe that billions of dollars could be saved in health-care spending if the electronic medical record systems were adopted. Already, the medical facilities that have embraced electronic medical recording systems are reporting positively about it.
Below are some of the benefits of keeping electronic medical records.
1. Less Paperwork
Electronic medical records ensure less paperwork and fewer file drawers. When a doctor has all your records electronically, he will easily retrieve your information whenever you visit the hospital. Just by using your Identification Number or your Patient Number, he will be able to see all the medications you have been using, any lab test results, any health issues you’ve been facing. The doctor wouldn’t have to interview you for long or to transcribe so much information, and this means they will spend less time with you and will have more time to interact with other patients.
2. Fewer Prescription Drug Errors
It has been reported that more than 7.000 people die annually as a result of the doctors’ sloppy handwriting. In July 2006, the National Academies of Science’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that medical mistakes injure more than 1.5 million people in America annually. Many such mistakes arise from unclear dosage indications and abbreviations, as well as illegible doctors’ handwriting.
All this can be eliminated by switching to the electronic medical record keeping system. Furthermore, when a doctor does the prescription electronically, it will show up on your medical record. This system is designed such that it will compare the new prescriptions with your medical record, and if it detects that you are allergic to the new prescription, it will send an alert to the doctor. By using the electronic system, the prescription will be sent directly to the pharmacist, further reducing the chances of errors. This is because the pharmacists will read the prescriptions correctly and give the right drugs.
3. Better Coordinated Care
If you are referred from one doctor to another, each doctor will be forced to keep a separate record for you. That would mean that you would be diagnosed in every hospital you visit. However, by using an electronic system, your new doctor will have all the information about you from the previous doctors. They will be able to see what other doctors had done that failed, so they will easily know where to start from. Their diagnosis will, therefore, be very precise and this will also help them in managing chronic diseases.
4. Improved Management of Chronic/Critical Conditions
Electronic medical records lead to superior patient care. Many doctors who have used this system say it makes them better doctors. When all of your doctors can access your medical records instantly, they will be better placed to handle your ongoing health issues. And when you are in a critical condition that you can’t even speak, doctors will simply check your medical history and discover the cause of your problem.
5. With Preventive Care, More Lives will be Saved
Many people do not honor their appointments and screenings that could keep them healthier. If you are one of them, electronic medical records could be the best solution for you. This system will send an alert to your doctor when your checkup time is due. They will make a follow up with you to ensure that you are attended to. You may also receive an alert to remind you of your appointments. This is important if you usually miss your appointments because of forgetfulness, and it can save your life.
The electronic health record keeping method, when used to its fullest potential, will improve patient care. Doctors will spend more of their time attending to patients rather than on tracking records. It will also help them to share information in a way that will benefit patients and save more lives.