Backed by the government initiative, Healthcare in the US is currently focused on achieving medical practice automation and standardization of clinical workflow. With improved EMR adoption rates being reflected in recent surveys, the government believes that by the end of 2014, every American would have effectively shifted to electronic medical records.
Alas, there is still skepticism surrounding EMR and the benefits it may yield. Physicians have been working using patient files for a while now and they have become efficient in utilizing the system, be it obsolete. This is partly the reason why many physicians may still find the need for electronic medical records unwarranted.
“Doctors are not against adopting technology, they just fear the disconnection EMR may cause between the patients and themselves,” explains a New Jersey based physician. With consistent innovation in Healthcare IT, EMR too have come a long way. Customizable preassembled SOAP templates not only reduce the hassle of paper charting, but also decrease documentation time significantly.
The benefits of utilizing electronic medical records are undeniable. EMR systems are effectively creating a healthcare network, enabling consistent care opportunity and improved interaction. This would create one central point of care for patients, targeting both patient ease and improved care delivery.
EHR also benefits a physician by reducing unnecessary workload and clinical errors. Systems now feature built-in alerts to provide a safety check for various interactions (drug-drug, drug-diagnosis, drug-allergy) and cross checks against patient’s past medical history whilst operations are streamlined in accordance with medical standards and best practices of the highest quality. This along with associated cost benefits of eliminating paper storage definitely adds to the appeal of bringing the medical practice into the 21st century.
With that said, the real obstacle is not to garner technology trust, but in fact to reduce the fear of change. Many practitioners are now realizing the importance of EMR for positive healthcare development. The opinions may continue to vary but there is growing consensus amongst the majority of clinicians that EMR is paving the pathway for the future of affordable, accountable and accessible care delivery.