Digital Doctor

Steve Lohr in "The New York Times" refers Dr. David Blumenthal, statement as; "The evidence worldwide suggests that electronic health records are seen as part of the long-term answer to improving care and controlling costs."

The researchers observed that overall, 44 percent of physicians have implemented EHRs and 56 percent still use paper based records. The survey reports also revealed that appropriate use of electronic health record systems have brought great improvement in health sector by redefining the medical practices' usual routines.

Furthermore, the condition, for the use of specific measures, to have the CMS incentives has played a great role in the appropriate use of Electronic Health Record System.

Few years ago, the worst part of a visit to a doctor was to wait in a reception room among the other sick patients. The new healthcare innovations have streamlined it, and now it is far easier to make patients' advanced appointments and they can know how much time the doctor may take before clearing up into a waiting room chair.

Electronic Health Record has emerged as a good time management tool in multiple ways eg by giving patients, an access to their online medical records through patient portal or patient health record system. The PHR (Patient Health Record) has reduced a huge number of query calls to practices. They can now access their basic information, family history, medications, allergies, immunizations, diagnosis and lab results directly. Each patient is given a unique ID by the practice which enables the patient to access the records by signing in to the system.

On the other hand, the physicians are also looking for EHRs for a way to save time and money. The shift from paper based to digital system has been proved economical with less use of paper, less staff and availability of patient records with few clicks. In addition, the features like vitals, problems, medication history, allergies, patient charting, Lab Results, family history, social history have made the data access and review very simpler. The providers do not have to go through the whole file at every visit, scrolling few links brings forward the whole patient history.

Another great feature of EHRs is use of electronic prescriptions. Physicians can transmit the prescriptions directly to the pharmacy easily in access to the patient. This helps in preventing medication errors. Usually providers used to give handwritten prescriptions to the patient or fax it to a pharmacy. Pharmacist also used to have difficult time reading handwritten prescriptions and may have little or no information about the patient's condition for which the prescription is written. Therefore, e-prescription plays a major role in reducing the incidents like drug duplication by alerting providers and plays a vital role especially with regards to controlled substances.

Electronic lab reporting systems with EHR have also brought forward focused and expected improvements to the completeness and timeliness of reporting. Eventually, the purpose of introducing EHR into healthcare was to facilitate the patients and providers with accurate reporting, by giving them an easy access of data and its availability, to have an economical solutions, and time management with the use of technology and ultimately survey reports prove a successful achievement of the set goals.

Dr. David J. Brailer, former national coordinator for health information technology in the Bush administration, states "The real gains come from improving the quality of the information that the doctor receives, so it is more accurate, complete and timely."