A new survey has found that majority of the doctors have started to make use of electronic medical records to store their patient health data. According to the 2014 National Physician Survey, about 75 percent of the physicians no longer use the old paper records for storing patient data.
Dr. Garey Mazowitta, who administered the survey says, “I think physicians have wanted to be in the 21st century, but the reality is it’s not a case of flipping a switch.” He adds, “A physician who’s had a long-standing paper-based practice, you have to face the challenge of scanning and digitizing what night be 2,000 charts, with pages and pages of information and entering the information into the correct field and these are docs who are already working in excess of 50, often 60 hours a week.”
Among the doctors who have already started making use of electronic medical records, 65 percent were of the view that the program has helped them to provide better care for the patients. The key characteristics of using electronic medical records according to these doctors is that they were now able to access the lab results quickly and view patient’s charts from any location. With electronic medical data, a physician can now find out whether a patient has seen a specialist, whether he/she has been admitted to a hospital or discharged etc. online.
One of the doctors, Cindy Forbes, who has been using web based electronic medical records (EMRs) over the past few years says, “There’s much better access to patient information like test results, lab results,” and “You get them back much faster, so we can diagnose and treat patients much more quickly.” She further adds, “I can’t even tell you the difference it’s made for me in regards to retrieval of information, legibility of information — if you’re reading other doctors’ notes. There was a time when I used to have to leaf through an inch or two of paper files to see what tests patients might have had or operations they may have had in the past. And now with a couple of clicks of the mouse, I can see their history back at least to the eight years I’ve had the computer app.”
Doctors also encounter a few challenges while using the electronic patient data. About 52 percent doctors have reported technical issues while accessing patient data and 46 percent encountered compatibility issues. Another 26 percent had security issues with the tool they used. Now, if these issues can be addressed, we might soon see more and more physicians starting to use electronic records for accessing patient data.