Physicians and Patients Warm Up to Idea of Electronic Health Record System
According to a recent article from U.S. News & World Report, the Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is gaining acceptance from both patients and physicians in the U.S.; the system initially raised concerns about the effects it could have on doctor-patient relations.
The article notes how the EHR will change the way patient records are kept, including all-in-one files, electronic prescriptions, 24-hour access, more informed decision making, reduced errors, and privacy protection. David Bates, chief quality officer at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told U.S. News & World Report, "This is a huge change—hospitals are adopting EHRs rapidly and trying to figure out how to use them effectively to improve care.”
In 2009, the U.S. Government initiated a financial incentive program that rewarded hospitals for using the EHR as part of an ongoing effort to improve patient care. In the coming years many hospitals will receive pay cuts from Medicare if the EHR is not implemented into daily practice and patient care does not improve. The EHR is part of Health Information Technology (Health IT), a national coordinator that helps healthcare providers implement methods for improving patient care. According to Health IT, the reason hospitals are being pressured into using the EHR is to create more efficient forms of care, improve patient satisfaction, and increase the availability of affordable care.
Health insurers and providers like Kaiser Health offer Health IT EHR access to their patients through a member portal called "My Health Manager" on kp.org. The system is not required at this time being but many healthcare facilities have adopted the EHR for updating and accessing patient files through an online database; according to U.S. News & World Report, the accessibility is spreading.
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