Hospitals and clinics around the country are adopting electronic document management systems to manage patient records, and not only because of new federal rules requiring the conversion. These systems have empowered physicians to elevate quality of care due to new features that enhance insight into patients' needs, while driving more efficient treatment.
UAB Magazine reported that electronic medical records (EMRs) have become increasingly common for a variety of functions that notify users of important changes in patients' physical condition that may demand attention. Joan Hicks, UAB Health System chief information officer, told the source that the ROI from these systems have already been considerable.
"The goal is to create a complete and fully integrated EMR with immediate electronic syncing of all patient data, available to everyone on the healthcare teams at the same time," she told UAB Magazine.
One way in which EMRs have been helpful, according to the news source, is that these systems make data immediately available, while also eliminating errors as information is recorded. For example, the FetalLink system, which has been the standard method of tracking babies and mothers during labor, can take waveform vitals data and immediately enter it into the EMR. This information is then available for monitoring at the nurses' station and other remote physicians. The source emphasized that this capability has been especially crucial as newborns' conditions can change rapidly and physicians need to be able to respond as quickly as possible to urgent situations.
Additionally, the VitalLinks system has allowed nurses to capture patient identity and vital signs, validate and save that information in the EMR, which improves data accuracy and saves time for clinicians by offering instant updates.
More patient ease and control
Northstar Dermatology is another organization that has been leveraging an EMR system for patient and provider benefits. Dr. Sina Aboutalebi, who specializes in top medical and surgical dermatological treatments, explained that the electronic transition has been crucial in the modernization of Northstar's practice.
"We are now completely paperless and provide our patients with the ability to fill our secure medical forms online well in advance of their visit." she said. "Patient ease and convenience is perhaps the most important advantage of them all."
With the online portal, Aboutalebi explained, patients can fill out documentation, post questions for the clinic, schedule appointments and view their own medical records.
Heightened care depends on efficiency and accuracy, both of which will continue to depend on embracing electronic document management for all patient records.
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