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How Does EHR Improve Patient Care?

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The expansion of health information technology is important to the improvement of the health care industry as a whole. Health IT which includes the electronic health record (EHR) enables health care providers to effectively manage patient care through the use and sharing of patient records.

Benefits of EHR
  • Security
  • Information can be conveniently and securely transmitted over the internet. This lessens the chance of access by anyone that is not directly related to the patient's care or does not require the patient's information to effectively do his or her job.

  • Accuracy
  • Software requires complete documentation for coding. It also eliminates mistakes due to the inability to read the physicians writing.

  • Faster Results
  • Electronic information can be shared with other health care providers or patients a lot faster than paper records by providing instantaneous access to the entire record.

  • Lower Costs
  • EHR eliminates copying expenses in addition to less administrative and clerical support necessary for transcription, documentation and requests for information.

  • Patient Safety
  • One important safety feature of an EHR is medication management. Physicians have instant access to what types of medication a patient is taking to reduce adverse reactions and medication errors.
Medicare Incentives for EHR

Effective May 2011, eligible physicians, hospitals and other medical professionals will begin to receive payments.

According to the CMS website, Medicare will implement the criteria for defining meaningful EHR users through three stages.

Stage 1 will focus on:
  • Electronically capturing health information in a coded format
  • Tracking key clinical conditions
  • Communicating information for care coordination purposes
  • Reporting of clinical quality measures and public health information
Stage 2 will expand on stage 1 in the areas of:
  • Disease management
  • Clinical decision support
  • Medication management support for patient access
  • Transitions in care
  • Quality measurement and research
  • Information exchange with public health agencies
Stage 3 will focus on:
  • Achieving improvements in quality, safety and efficiency
  • Decision support for national high priority conditions
  • Patient access to self-management tools
  • Access to comprehensive patient data
  • Improving population health outcomes
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