CPCU, ARM, AAI 770.913.1201 Paul Tuggle, CPCU: 770.913.1208 Ron Cuen: 770.913.1204 John Lowden: 770.913.1209 Kevin Chojnacki: 770.913.1213 With technology becoming more prevalent in todays society, doctors and hospitals must consider how much elec-tronic data they will use in conjunction with patient care.
This article explores some of the advantages and disad-vantages of Electronic Health Records, as well as related legal and financial risk implications of making the switch.
An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is becoming widely accepted as one way doctors and hospitals can take advantage of tech-nology to streamline healthcare for their patients.
They are made up of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) that include personal information, medical history, prescriptions, allergies, immunizations, laboratory test results, radiology reports, billing records and other sensitive data pertaining to the patients health.
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Fax Sign up to receive the Prescription of the Month email at www.potterholden.com.Potter Holden, MD Electronic records take significantly less physical storage space than hard copy records.Electronic records are easily transferable.
When patients visit different specialists, its much easier to send electronic records from one office to another.The likelihood of errors is reduced when elec-tronic records are used.
Records that are written illegi-bly are eliminated with the use of electronic data.
Electronic records make information readily avail-able.It has been estimated that 1 in 7 patients have been unnecessarily hospitalized when medical records were not available.
Patients are able to easily access their own re-cords that are in an electronic format.
Electronic records may assist in the defense of doctors in the event of a malpractice claim
If the re-cord is legible and easily understood, the facts of the case provide more solid proof.
Its not what you did, its what you can prove you did.There are concerns about the privacy of a patients information.
According to the Los Angeles Times, approximately 150 different people have access to at least part of a patients medical record during a hospitalization.Cost is an issue for some doctors and hospitals.
Doctors who have avoided using EHRs may have done so because of the high cost.
In addition to the cost of implementing the EHR, there are costs associated with maintaining the system and training employees who use the system.
Technology is not perfect.
Electronic systems can develop problems that lead to crashes and viruses.
These problems can occur in the software, hard-ware and/or the network.People make mistakes.
Doctors, nurses, billing specialists and other folks who are inputting information in an EHR are prone to mistakes too.
EHRs are not standardized, nor are they centralized.
Ideally, all health-care providers (doctors, hospitals, labs, pharmacists, etc.) would be able to enter information from their electronic system on a patients central EHR.
Currently, this just is not the case.
All systems are not compatible with one another and there is not an arrangement of a centralized EHR.Security of the data is a factor.
Medical records should never be altered.
However, the possibility of changing files can occur, whether it is intentional or unintentional.Approximately 20-25% of all hospitals use EHRs, and 10-18% of doctors offices use EHRs.
It is predicted that these percentages will increase over time.
Many doctors and hospitals feel that the advantages of using them outweigh the disadvantages.
Malpractice insurers are
seeing the benefit of EHRs, and a few of them are offering credits to doctors who use these systems on a regular basis.
Since there are many factors to consider when implementing an EHR program, we recom-mend that you consult your Potter-Holden agent to make sure all related risks are agent & service team are ready to assist you, so give us a call at
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