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The Pros and Cons of Electronic Medical Records

Electronic Medical Records are becoming widespread with the HITECH act passed in February of 2009. Electronic medical records are still experiencing a number of roadblocks, namely proprietary electronic health care providers who silo their information in their systems. The benefits of electronic medical records, however, outweigh their disadvantages and it will be inevitable in the future that all practicing physicians have an electronic medical record for their patients.

Pros:

1. Reduced Medical Errors – By digitizing patient records, physicians, nurses, and other care providers can freely access information. Nurses and doctors do not need to track down folders or worry about losing notes. Everything is documented in the Electronic Medical Records software.

2. Decrease In Repeat Procedures – A big reason for why patients pay for repeat procedures is because health care providers do not communicate information between different locations. Physicians order the same procedures because the information isn’t available for them to look at or too difficult to obtain.

3. Lowers the Cost of Health Care Overall – A decrease in repeat procedures decrease the cost of healthcare overall. Insurance companies aren’t burdened with a slew of unneeded costs and thus the price of premiums go down.

Cons:

1. Existing Electronic Medical Records Solutions Are Clunky, Unsecure, or Expensive – Many of the proprietary systems are there are incredibly difficult to use with poor user interfaces and far too many features. With the less expensive software solutions, you run the risk of unsecure information being passed. Lastly, doctors pas a lot of these startup fees to patients because these EMR systems are incredibly expensive.

2. Doctors Aren’t Incentivized To Use – Many doctors simply don’t feel the need to convert to digitized patient records. The government incentives are designed to give a reimbursement to doctors who already have a system in place. Switching over also means that the practice must experience significant downtime that reduces the doctors’ ability to see patients.

3. Doctors Are Caught In Their Old Ways – The fact is most physicians are slow adopters of technology. Private practice have their own ways of doing things and are resistant to change. They like to wait till the technological risks are mitigated before they jump into the mix.

EMRs are inevitable. They are coming and coming fast. EMRs represent an amazing benefit to patients who care enough to take their healthcare into their own hands. Patients can create personal health records to track their own health progress which parallels patient records that are held by your doctor. The name of the game is empowering the patient to take care of their own wellbeing.

Last Modified April 14, 2010 @ 7:00 pm
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