Electronic Medical Records Beneficial

By Edwards, Dwayne | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), September 8, 2012 | Go to article overview

Electronic Medical Records Beneficial


Edwards, Dwayne, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


TAKE a moment to celebrate National Health Information Technology Week and appreciate knowing that more than 1,000 health-care providers and nearly all hospitals and rural clinics in West Virginia are working toward using electronic health record systems.

They are moving away from paper records to improve patient care, enable easier exchange of health data and reduce medical errors.

These providers are taking part in a national initiative called the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. In West Virginia, this program is administered by the West Virginia Regional Health Information Technology Extension Center and the state Bureau for Medical Services. More than 100,000 health- care providers across the country are part of the effort.

These professionals, clinics and hospitals have recognized the potential of electronic health records to provide better patient care, minimize medical errors, cut down on paperwork and eliminate duplicate screenings and tests.

Electronic records:

* Offer more accurate and complete information about a patient's health. This will enable providers to give the best possible care.

* Provide the ability to better coordinate care. This is especially important if a patient or a loved one has a serious medical condition or if you are helping to care for a family member.

* Include a way to securely share information with the patient electronically. This means patients and family members can take part more fully in health decisions.

* Put information at the fingertips of health-care providers, meaning they can diagnose problems sooner, reduce medical errors and provide safer, more affordable care.

* Give the ability to transfer and exchange a patient's health data easily once states have completed health information exchange protocols and systems.

Electronic health records can enhance routine medical care by reminding a primary-care doctor about the timing of appropriate preventive services for a patient's general well-being or for a specific issue related to managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma. …

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