The Digital Age of Medicine

When your doctor has to access your health records—everything from your allergies to the treatments you received during past visits—does he or she pull out a manila envelope packed with scraps of paper? Or does your doctor log onto the computer? The odds are becoming increasingly high that your doctor turns to the computer.

Electronic health records

This is due to the recent adoption of EHR software, or electronic heath records. The application of EHR software by medial professionals has grown in recent years. The percentage of office-based physicians with access to EHR software stood at 57 percent in 201. This is an increase from the 50.7 percent of office-based physicians who used EHR software in 2010.

Electronic records good news for patients

This, by the way, is good news for patients. We’d like our doctors to be organized. We want them to be able to access key health information speedily. With health-record data stored in computers, they can do this. They won’t need to fumble through piles of paper to find our medical histories, what sorts of medication we are allergic to, and whether we’ve gained 15 pounds since our last visit. This information will all be available at the touch of a keyboard. EHR systems can also shorten the wait times that we face when we visit our doctor’s offices. If doctors aren’t wasting time shuffling through paperwork, they can take more time visiting with patients and diagnosing them, all the while seeing patients in a more effective manner.

Federal government encouragement

The move toward digital record keeping is being encouraged by the government as well. They are also encouraging physicians to file prescriptions electronically. This seems like a good move as the pharmacists are not as likely to make mistakes and patients are less likely to loose their prescriptions.