Electronic Medical Records and Patient Care: Part 1

Recently, there has been a major move by Connecticut hospitals and clinics to make all medical records electronic. Electronic medical records can have a major impact on a doctor’s ability to treat us. Consequently, we are going to spend the next couple of posts looking more closely at how the increase in the use of electronic medical records might affect patients.

Today, we will be discussing the positive effects of these types of records. There are many ways that the use of electronic records could improve the care we receive when we go to see a doctor. When used properly, they can prevent treatment and medication errors.

One benefit of electronic records is that they reduce some of the errors that paper records are prone to. Such errors include illegible writing and misplaced records. Both of these errors could lead to doctors missing a critical piece of information when they treat us. However, electronic records prevent both of these errors. They put records in a form which is very readable and much more difficult to lose.

Another benefit is that electronic records compile all the information on a patient into one easy to access system. This would be particularly beneficial when doctors need access to patient information quickly. Thus, electronic records could help ensure that people in emergency situations will be treated by doctors who have all the necessary information on them. Better information on patients will also hopefully result in less mistakes being made by doctors.

Consequently, the move towards electronic medical records could be very good for patients. If used properly, they can reduce the number of treatment and medication mistakes that occur due to record errors or lack of access to patient information.

Next post, we will discuss some of the potential negative effects of electronic medical records.

Source: The Connecticut Mirror, “The doctor-patient-laptop relationship,” Arielle Levin Becker, 24 Nov 2010