A Milestone on the Road to EMR

Carl Weinschenk
Slide Show

Clinical Information System Response Times

A Compuware survey of health care professionals from organizations large and small revealed the majority are not satisfied with clinical information system response times.

The Department of Health and Human Services is expanding patients' control over their medical information.


Dark Reading reports that rules announced this week are a signpost on the way to full electronic medical recrod (ERM) adoption, which is slated for 2014. The story says that they "strengthen and expand" the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The rules restrict disclosures and place companies associated with HIPAA-covered entities under many of the same rules as the covered organizations themselves, the story says. The piece adds that new rules on the sale of information for marketing and fundraising have been added.


It is difficult, and probably unnecessary, to divide EMR from the health care reform laws that passed earlier this year and the general meshing of medicine and electronic communications. Last week, Knowledge Networks released a survey conducted in conjunction with the Physicians Consulting Network that quizzed almost 11,000 health care professionals on their mobile device habits. The bottom line: Medical professionals like their gadgets.


The survey covered a lot of ground, at least some of it seemingly not directly connected to medical endeavors. The survey revealed that 52 percent of specialists and 50 percent of primary care physicians (PCPs) keep patient records electronically, which is an increase of 10 percent and 12 percent, respectively, since 2008. The survey also revealed that 62 of specialists and 55 percent of PCPs use smartphones. The release implies, but doesn't clearly state, that a vast majority of the two groups are using the devices for work-related tasks.


As with any huge topic, EMR and digital medical records have their benefits and drawbacks. This Q&A in the Wall Street Journal with Sharona Hoffman, an EMR expert, professor of law and bioethics and co-director of the Law-Medicine Center at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, suggests that the positives outweigh the negatives. The positives are well documented and easy to understand. However, people may overlook the areas in which care must be taken, which can be less obvious. According to Hoffman:


There can be software bugs, there can be computer shutdowns. Some systems are so complicated they actually hinder the ability of the doctor [to care for the patient]. Doctors have only about 15 minutes per patient, and more of that time may be spent trying to fiddle with the computer - it can take time away from patient interaction.


Clearly, EMR is a hot topic for a reason: An electronic medical profile can save a life in an emergency and generally lead to better care in the long term. However, it is important to remember that a technology this broad, complex and all-encompassing must be dealt with carefully. It also is vital to recognize that these are politically charged issues and even things that make perfect sense don't rollout quickly.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jul 30, 2010 9:55 AM Jay Jay  says:

With the finalization of the Meaningful Use Criteria to become eligible for the HITECH Act Stimulus, the language clearly indicates that the preferred method for providing patients electronic access to their records is via a web-based portal. 

I2Qmed makes meeting MU criteria for electronic access easy with its I2QmedEP Patient Portal. The managed solution works in any EMR or non-EMR environment, gives providers complete discretion and control over the dissemination of information and best of all it's FREE

For more information go to www.i2qmed.com

Aug 20, 2010 7:33 AM EHR EHR  says:

EMR is about aggregation of patient encounter data at the point of care in order to provide a complete, accurate, and timely view of patient information.

May 23, 2011 1:47 AM Abhishek Abhishek  says:

This was a quantitative study, with data obtained from three distinct sources: individual-level and social-network data from employees; use data from EMR system logs; and patient satisfaction data from patients and/or authorized decision-makers. Responses were obtained from 151 physicians and 8440 patient satisfaction surveys over the course of a 1-year period at the shakedown phase of an EMR system implementation.

Implementation of EMR is really necessary. Clearly, EMR is a hot topic for a reason: An electronic medical profile can save a life in an emergency and generally lead to better care in the long term.

ONC-ATCB & CCHIT certified web-based EMR software, EHR software, Medical billing and medical Practice Management Software.



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