Why Every Person Should Want Electronic Health Records.


The benefits of electronic health records are not just for providers.

Although healthcare providers are making progress in adopting health IT, Americans surprisingly seem less than enthusiastic about the change. According to a study of 2,147 adults conducted by Harris Interactive in May 2012, only 26% of Americans want their medical records to be digital.

The financial benefits of electronic health records (EHRs) should be reason enough for Americans to overwhelmingly favor EHRs. In 2009, the American healthcare system lost more than $750 billion dollars due to inefficient services and administrative expenditures. A transition to EHRs would significantly reduce this number.

In addition to the financial benefits of electronic health records, EHRs also offer huge benefits to patients including health information exchanges. If a primary care doctor joins an HIE, then the provider’s patients’ health information will be shared with their all of their healthcare providers including specialists and emergency care providers. This type of information sharing guarantees that patients get the best care because all of their providers will have the same, up-to-date, full-scope information.

Another benefit of electronic health records is that they allow for e-prescribing. Instead of writing out a paper copy of prescription, healthcare providers can send an electronic prescription directly from their office to the pharmacy. E-prescribing reduces provider errors and saves patients time. As more providers adopt electronic health records, routine processes like writing notes and prescriptions will become more efficient, allowing providers more time to interact with patients.

Electronic health records also allow for providers to use predictive analytics. Software like Xerox’s Midas+Live can be utilized to continually examine patient health information and alert providers of important changes in patients’ conditions that happen simultaneously like an increase temperature combined with various lab test results. The information can be used to inform healthcare providers of a decline in a patients’ condition sooner than current operating procedures.

While much of the rhetoric surrounding electronic health records has addressed how EHR’s can benefit providers, it is important for patients to understand how electronic health records will benefit them just as much.

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