Electronic Medical Records
It sounds antiquated, but many doctor offices and hospitals today still use paper records for patients in this day and age of advanced technology. But, there is a growing trend moving towards electronic medical records, especially by larger pharmacy chains. Electronic medical record usage not only helps prevent mistakes (by eliminating the need for medical transcription and dictation and providing immediate access to records no matter what the location is), but also improves patient care and lowers cost of medical treatment. Doctors anywhere in the country (and perhaps eventually the world) will have access your medical records if needed.
You may have walked by a room on the way out of your doctor's office and noticed him talking into a small, handheld tape recorder. This is how the doctor records information from your visit. It is then transcribed by medical staff and put in your chart. It may be on their computer, but other doctors don't have access to the information without calling your doctor's office
The advantages of electronically medical records are mind-boggling. If you are on vacation and a medical emergency arises and your doctor's office is closed, the attending physician only has your memory to go by for your previous medical treatment. Electronic medical records could save lives in situations such as this. Some pharmacies now have their own electronic system that allows them to access information from any of their locations in the US. You have probably heard of people who take more than one medication and have complications when the medications work against each other. Systems like this could potentially warn pharmacist and medical staff of potential hazards of drug combinations.
Some medical professionals hope that at least half of the clinics and hospitals in the US are on electronic medical records by the year 2006.
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