Electronic medical records are here to stay. If there were any doubts as to this reality, they must surely have been put to rest with the $19Billion budget earmarked for the paperless system rollout as indicated in the economic stimulus plan. This means that everyone will soon be having an Electronic Medical Record and healthcare experts have long argued for the benefits of such a state of affairs. They say the EMR takeover will usher in a new phase of safer, more cost effective and more efficient medicine. Now, let’s look at some of the ways that EMRs could make your life easier and safer.
1. Quicker and Easy Access to Lab Test Results via Downloads
It is now possible for you to access your lab results as soon as they are out by simply down loading them. Some of the leading healthcare institutions started using this facility as early as 2008. One weakness that still plagues this function is the nature of the results themselves. Most of the times, patients can’t make head or tail of these results and end up having to consult the doctor as to the actual meaning of the results. There are calls for the labs or the insurers to help patients with the interpretation of the results in time.
2. Minimize Your Trips to the Doctor
Another of the system’s advantages is the elimination of some of the visits to the doctor for such things as reordering a prescription or getting answers to a nagging issue or question. In some pilot projects that were conducted some time ago, visits to the doctor went down by up to 25% due to the ability of patients to communicate with their doctor via email among other conveniences. The overriding obstacle in the way of this development is the fact that a large number of doctors operating outside group programs do not get compensated for email based consultations.
3. Get More Information on Your Prescriptions Beforehand
Physicians are already getting incentives for utilizing the electronic prescription system. The benefits that accrue to such usage include the ability to do checks for possible drug interactions and dosage before you begin taking the drugs. A lot of savings can also be realized by the health plan through the ability to move patients to cheaper generic versions of the drugs. Without e-prescribing, dangerous errors are ever-present in the practice.
4. Share Medical Records with Family
Electronic medical records make it easier for families to share such information. This is quite helpful in cases where there are other people in the family responsible for a particular patient. Under such circumstances, they can access the records land keep track on the medicines and any other information without having to travel or leave their daily chores. This situation is only possible if the concerned health institution or physician has a facility that allows patient s to download their health record onto third party sites such as GoogleHealth and HeathVault. This way you can keep an eye on your grandma’s treatment and stay in touch with all the developments.
5. Reduce Hassles with Digital Diagnostics
Very soon, it will be possible to store and access a lifetime of MRI’s, X-rays and other diagnostics in digital format. This means that it will no longer be necessary for you to shuttle across town with a load of diagnostic documentation. Doctors, just like dermatologists before them, will soon have a patient record that incorporates photographs. Whichever side of the argument you choose to pick, there is no denying the huge positives that come with wide usage of electronic medical records.