The New England Journal of Medicine released an article on September 1st which shows how the Electronic Health Record (EHR) can help improve the quality of care for Diabetic patients. This is huge! We know EHR is a good tool to reduce paper, organize files, give good clinical support, and exchange health information. However, it is yet to be proven definitively that EHR can actually improve quality. However this article will stand out among the mounting evidence that EHR can indeed help improve a patent’s quality of health.
In 2008 it was estimated that the US had a 13% adoption rate of EHR. Recent estimates have increased this rate to 30% . Many changes are occurring in the world of Health Information Technology: 1) Retail health clinics are entering into agreements with hospital systems for the purpose of integrating technology to exchange patient health information. 2) Insurance companies are purchasing health information exchanges. 3)Major corporations are purchasing technology to develop patient registries. These are strategic moves to ready for the future integration of health information. Physicians and other providers who still don’t believe this train is coming should be hearing the vibrations on the track by now.
As new technologies takes hold, patients will begin to interact electronically with health care practices and demand more access to their patient information. They will use their home computers, tablets, and cell phones to get appointments, lab results and send emails to their provider. The patient will eventually demand that their physician is not only equipped with an EHR but equipped with an EHR which is integrated with other health care entities and ancillary services. When the patient begins to equate the EHR technology with improved quality and service they will not accept anything less. In fact let’s just call them customers because it will be easier to shop around for quality health services.
I am a customer; you are a customer; we all are customers or will be customers to the health system of this great country. It is only appropriate that we can get quality care no matter where we go in this country; no matter how good our insurance may be. When you have to take on the sick role the only thing you care about is getting better. And if getting better requires being in the care of a physician/provider you want him or her to have the best support and the best tools available. That just may be and EHR.