A patient walks into a clinic and complains of stomach pain. While the patient can generally describe the medication he’s been taking over the last few years, his memory might not be as good and he forgets to mention an allergy or provide a thorough family history. Those bits of information may have been critical to a proper diagnosis and soon the treating physician is in trouble, and the patient is in even worse shape than when he entered the clinic.
Among the many benefits that electronic health records (EHRs) provide, we would like to focus on the EHR systems’ ability to provide physicians clinical decision alerts, present a patient’s comprehensive medical history and connect with other systems to enable more coordinated care.
How EHRs Play Into Clinical Decision Making and Present a Comprehensive Medical History
An EHR helps provide a system of checks and balances for a practicing physician. In a previous Care360 blog, we discussed how EHR alerts remind physicians about procedures or screenings, and how they can be more general (flu vaccination for all patients) or more specific (mammogram alerts).
Instead of putting the onus on the physician or the patient to remember these procedures or screenings, the EHR takes on that responsibility and both patient and provider are better for it. A physician can make a better diagnosis by having a patient’s complete history at their fingertips, rather than having to rely on a patient’s memory, take the time to read paper records or not be able to access the records quickly enough if the patient had a procedure done in a different part of the country.
How EHRs Enable More Coordinated Care
The Care360 team at Quest Diagnostics is proud of its recent focus on interoperability. We believe the true power of data can only be harnessed when it is used in conjunction with other data to form a more complete picture. Care360 EHR has multi-system interoperability, meaning it can connect with other EHRs, labs and pharmacies. If a patient is in Florida and has a medical emergency, their treating physician can request an electronic copy of the chart from the patient’s primary care provider in Michigan, so that that patient’s medical history and background is now in front of them. As more and more physician offices adopt EHRs, we will continue to be an advocate for making sure that all systems are able to talk to one another – thus making sure that physicians are as well-equipped as possible to effectively treat their patients.
Medical decisions and pathways to treatment should not be arrived at lightly. EHRs help bridge the information gap to ensure that physicians are practicing evidence-based medicine to treat their patients.
To learn more about Care360 Electronic Health Records, visit Care360.com.