Are Electronic Health Records Promoting Negligent Care?

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Why are some doctor’s offices and hospitals resisting the switch to electronic health records? Although many doctors and physicians tout the benefits of digital systems and the federal government plans to sink up to $27 billion into funding electronic records (according to USA Today), some are still hesitant to adopt the new systems. Here’s why some are thinking twice about the latest technology, and why they may want to reconsider:

The Problem with Electronic Health Records

Maintaining electronic health records (EHRs) has some doctors’ eyes glued to computer screens, experts say. “Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin found that when a patient visits a doctor who uses electronic health records in his or her exam room, the doctor ends up looking at the screen one-third of the time,” The Huffington Post reports. Lack of eye contact — and inattention in general — may lead to negligent patient care.

Why Health Care Professionals Need to Reconsider

Although doctors need to address and amend issues — such as lack of eye contact and impersonal patient care — they should think twice about ditching electronic health records altogether. Research shows that the latest technology and electronic health records facilitate analysis that doctors cannot possibly hope to replicate by hand. Large software companies are, for example, experimenting with predictive analysis software. The new software will enable doctors to predict serious health conditions before they manifest. “Using the natural language processing technology that underpins IBM IBM +0.62% Watson, Carilion Clinic was able to identify 8,500 patients who are at risk of developing congestive heart failure within one year,” Forbes explains. Moreover, the EHRs and related software accounted for “additional details that might have escaped a doctor’s eye, include a patient’s social history, depression, and living arrangements,” Forbes adds.

Most importantly, physicians’ offices and hospitals do not have to go it alone. Third party medical billing services tackle all aspects of billing — including physicians billing, MRI billing, and radiology billing — freeing up doctors’ schedules and enabling them to spend more time with patients. Moreover, medical billing services typically update and maintain software — giving private practices and hospitals one less thing to worry about.

Electronic health records are revolutionizing patient care. Doctors need to carefully avoid some of the pitfalls of these systems (such as spending too much time maintaining records with patients in the room) and make the most of the benefits. Links like this.

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