Saturday, February 21, 2009

Electronic Medical Record Systems

Electronic medical record systems are being touted as the wave of the future in health care and communication, but only 17 percent of U.S. doctors have embraced the technology, a new survey finds, according to Business Week. When you use a good definition of what a record system is, very few physicians appear to have one.

The definition of a fully functional electronic medical record system includes a patient's
  1. complete medical records,
  2. medication lists,
  3. problems, and clinical notes from past visits.
The doctor can also order prescriptions, laboratory tests and radiology tests electronically. In addition, the doctor can review
  1. lab results and view X-rays,
  2. MRIs or other scans on the computer
There are also warnings about inappropriate prescriptions or abnormal lab results. And the systems remind the doctor when lab or screening tests are needed.

For the survey, DesRoches and her colleagues surveyed 2,758 doctors nationwide about their use of electronic medical record systems. The researchers found that 4 percent reported having a fully functional system. An additional 13 percent said they had a basic system.

The survey also found that primary care doctors and doctors with large practices or those in hospitals or medical centers were more likely to have electronic medical record systems. In addition, doctors in the western region of the United States were more likely to have such systems.

Both Medicare and private insurance companies are pushing doctors to adopt electronic medical record systems as a way of monitoring quality of care, which will be a basis for reimbursement levels, DesRoches noted.

Source: Business Week

Read more about the topic at American Medical News.

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