Electronic health records (EHR) allow medical professionals to provide a high standard of care by making records more readily available and facilitating communication between physicians. Nearly everything we do and say is able to be shared across networks, which makes our interactions more efficient, accurate and accessible. Why shouldn’t why medical professionals be able to share information critical patient information across a secure network?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) agree that EHRs can make workflow more efficient and supports many activities like evidence-based decision-making and accurate reporting of visit outcomes.
When patients seek treatment at a private practice, relevant medical records may be scattered at hospitals, labs, physician offices or other clinical settings. Many records can be faxed but locating, collecting and scanning them is time-consuming. Connected EHRs offer physicians the ability to gather and exchange information from any similarly connected location. This saves the time your office would spend tracking down, copying and transporting records, thus streamlining your workflow and giving you more one-on-one time with patients.
The NIH National Center for Research Resources funded a 2006 study of the cost, return on investment and workflow implications of EHRs. Their overall finding was that EHRs effectively integrate complex medical environments and hospital departments. By creating a centralized data center that aggregates all patient records, EHRs provide a comprehensive and updated look at a patient’s health record, which can both speed up diagnosis and help medical professionals identify potentially adverse conditions.
The study notes indicate that if adopted, EHR standards would make data comparable across different clinical settings, meaning that hospital administrators could use time that would have been spent validating data types on other concerns like data security.
U.S. lawmakers are pushing medical professionals to adopt EHRs because of the potential to alleviate healthcare costs and allow interoperability between medical records systems. Federal Medicare and Medicaid programs now offer financial incentives to hospitals that use certified EHR technology to meet established health and efficiency goals.
Patients often don’t see specialists unless referred by a primary care physician. EHR are especially valuable in this setting because they offer specialists an easy, efficient way to access a patient’s complete record, rather than just the one visit that led to the referral. By re-evaluating existing data, specialists can quickly decide on the most appropriate treatment plan and avoid the cost of duplicative testing.
For more information about how EHR facilitate communication between primary care physicians, hospitals and specialists, visit Quanum.com.