Electronic medical records need to better focus on patients

The biggest problem with today’s push for electronic medical records is an archaic user interface.

Physician Alexander Friedman, writing a scathing essay in The Wall Street Journal, agrees.

Today’s electronic medical records are written for the benefit of insurance companies, which scrutinize each doctor’s note carefully for billing purposes. But, as Dr. Friedman astutely points out, “thorough, efficient billing doesn’t translate to better care.”

It’s gotten to a point where some doctors print out pages of data to bring to a patient encounter, or scan in dictated notes; both of which defeat the purpose of digital records in the first place.

There are scores of electronic medical records competing the gain market share — but each fails to communicate with one another, and all are burdened with a user interface circa Windows 95 that impedes clinical care.

It’s imperative that we divorce charting from medical billing, update interfaces to today’s standards, and return to why doctors write in the medical chart in the first place — to easier treat and benefit the patient.

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