Electronic Health Records, otherwise known as electronic medical records, have been around for over 20 years now in various forms. Despite their longevity and growth in implementation in recent years, they have not improved. They have increased the cost of providing medical care without improving efficiency or, in many instances, patient safety. EHR is a great idea that has been poorly and haphazardly implemented with the main goals of revenue generation for the companies that sell them, and for billing efficiency. The focus needs to be on patient care and communication – communication between providers, and between patients and their providers. New technology usually makes our lives easier. Even those of us who love any tech we can get our hands on, cannot love our EHR’s. Here are a couple of interesting perspectives on the problem.
What’s the solution? Well, if it was easy, it would have already been done. But there are good arguments to having one universal system, accessible to all doctors, with individual patient records to be accessible to the doctors designated by those patients. We already have a nationwide EHR at our VA Medical Centers. There are barriers and security concerns with a nationwide solution, but huge advantages to think of as well. Some food for thought as we consider the ongoing changes in our health care systems.