Do EMRs improve patient safety? A debate. “I’m here to say ‘Yes, they can,’ which is different from ‘Yes, they always do,’” says James Moore, MD, president-elect of the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA). To the contrary, enthusiasm for electronic medical records (EHRs) is part of a “syndrome of inappropriate overconfidence in computing,” argues Christine Doyle, MD, the CSA’s Speaker of the House. The two physician anesthesiologists (and self-identified “computer ...

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One of the major reasons that health care providers resist implementing an electronic medical record (EMR) system is the belief that using it will decrease provider productivity, reducing the number of patients they can see and therefore reducing practice revenue. However, an EMR that is designed around a streamlined workflow can enable providers to work faster and more efficiently. Having an EHR and vendor that can give you ongoing visibility and ...

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Over the past several years I’ve written about the inadequate state of clinical documentation, which is largely unchanged since the days of Osler, (except for a bit more structure introduced by Larry Weed in the 1970s) and was created for billing/legal purposes not for care coordination. One of the most frequent complaints in my email box these days is a sense that the current record is filled with data, but little knowledge and ...

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It has been 5 years since the passage of the HITECH Act portion of the Affordable Care Act. The purpose of HITECH was "to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology." While the result of this legislation has been the significant increase in the adoption of EHRs, most of the potential benefits of digital technology have yet to be demonstrated. there are multiple reasons for this lack of proof. The ...

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The idea of starting over with computerized electronic health record (EHR) systems and doing them right as mentioned in a previous post has struck a resonant chord. Unfortunately designing an EHR that works may be a fantasy, due to one huge hurdle that would have to be overcome first. But it is fun to imagine an alternative universe where EHR systems were patient-centric instead of being ...

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Over the past 5 to 10 years, hospitals and physician offices have been in a mad dash to implement electronic health records (EHRs) in order to meet governmental regulatory requirements.  Now that most projects are either complete or well on their way, what are we doing with all of the data that EHRs promised to generate? From my experience as a physician at a large academic medical center with one of ...

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Go into any hospital today and notice that between every great nurse and patient sits a computer terminal. The quantified health movement has created the great digital divide, between the patient and everyone else. The nurse of old used to actually touch the patient. No more. Now, they wheel in a computer console, sit down and record the digital output of the wired up patient, every vital sign, every drug order or ...

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The EHR report card 2014: Has it gotten better?A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. A little over two years ago in this blog, my “EHR report card” evaluated the effect of the electronic health record (EHR) on my practice. I thought it would be interesting to see how things have changed.  As in 2012, I will not identify my ...

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In their current form, most (if not all) EHRs kind of stink. I don’t speak from direct experience, as I’ve held off buying and implementing a system to date. But I’ve never heard any of my colleagues say they love -- or even really like -- their EHRs, and I’ve asked many. The most ardent supporters state that they've gotten used to their systems (usually after years of tribulations) and ...

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With the recent discovery of the ShellShock vulnerability affecting a large number of computers, the question comes up again: How secure is medical data? Thanks to the federally mandated push to transfer medical data from paper charts to computer databases, most if not all of this data is now fertile ground for hackers. As pointed out in this article medical data is more valuable to hackers than stolen credit cards. ...

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