Electronic Health Records Are Becoming Necessary

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

There have been many developments in the American health care system over the past century. The recent implementation of measures outlined in 2010's Affordable Care Act, including the introduction of electronic heath records, represents the beginning of an even greater rate of change in than previously seen. EHRs make it easier for both doctors and patients to track medical care processes for acute as well as ongoing conditions.

Electronic health records have become an essential aspect of patient care because these records make it much easier to track patients' medication and health issues. Patient access to their own health records also makes it easier for them to manage their own care. With many hospitals updating to electronic health records, more and more patients will be able to take their medical records into their own hands.

Historically, patients' medical records have been kept in confidential locations at their doctors' practices. Until recently, this system was effective because most individuals saw one primary care physician for most health conditions. Now, however, a proportion of people visit several doctors, many of whom don't have an interconnected records system. Doctors, therefore, rely heavily on their patients as they gather information for medical histories.

Electronic health records offer a good solution to this conundrum because of their potential for widespread use over several medical practices, and also by the patients themselves. If doctors have ready access to patient histories either via an integrated system or via informed patients, they can avoid dangerous drug interactions and hone preventative care procedures. Monitoring patients' overall health, even if they visit several doctors at once, will become easier.

In addition to the above, the adoption of electronic health records may have a positive effect on health insurance premiums. If medications are monitored more effectively via electronic health records, doctors are less likely to prescribe drugs that are incompatible with patients' existing medications. Fewer complications and emergencies mean fewer medical insurance claims. This positive trend may lower insurance premium prices in the long term, improving the economic climate and aiding the transition to a more balanced U.S. medical system.

Electronic health records were expected to be universally available to patients online by the end of 2014: however, progress has taken longer than expected. In the future, hospitals could face penalties for not adopting electronic health records, so many medical institutions have become increasingly determined to digitize their paper records in advance.

Overall, industry experts have welcomed move toward digitization, many of them suggesting that accessible electronic health records are actually overdue. When patients have access to clear information about their health, they generally feel more secure and can communicate more effectively with medical professionals, no matter how many doctors they need to visit.

Photo courtesy of ddpavumba at Freedigitalphotos.net


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch