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Going electronic with medical records has numerous advantages

READ MORE: Going electronic with medical records has numerous advantages
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Transitioning from paper to electronic medical records is expensive but many argue an effective way to increase patient safety. Over the past fifteen years, New Hanover Regional Medical Center been making the transition, and they have noticed several advantages. "It's made that information almost immediately available so you as a patient can have a discussion with your physician about your particular situation and you can see what he's seeing,” explained Vice President for Medical Affairs Sam Spicer. Before medical records were electronic, the average turn around time to get radiology x-rays results was about 16 hours. However, it now takes less than an hour. Hospital bracelets patients wear, now have a barcode doctors scan to verify they have the correct patient and medical information. Another reason to have digital records according to Avery Cloud, CIO at NHRMC, "The medical record needs to be in more than one place at one time.” For example, doctors in Raleigh are able to look at this same ultrasound. "When different specialists can review the same information simultaneously it improves the environment of care for the patient,” Cloud said. The problem is, most hospitals still haven't switched to electronic health records. “That's why when you go to offices a lot of times you feel like you're repeating the same information over and over again, because a lot of systems don't talk to each other and we've got to solve that. We've got to get to a standard where everybody in these offices can talk to each other, it's called inter-operability and it's one of the goals of the stimulus funding,” Dr. Spicer said. Doctor Spicer said the hospital didn't necessarily have the funds to make this transition, but they made it a priority. “Even though we don't necessarily have money to do it, we're doing it anyway because it's the right thing to do."

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Electronic Health Records

I agree that there are some benefits to having electronic records, but what about the cost of doing these projects? Are they to be paid out of our taxes as the government proposes in their budget? Will the records continue to be secure and private? And, is the real reason the government is interested in this related to a push toward socialized medicine?

Downside to Digital Medical Records

The funding for this was included in the Economic Stimulus Package. Socialized medicine does seem like it is on the horizon. One of the major downsides to this is it opens the door for someone to easily peak into your medical history. See: OctoMom and all the medical staff that looked into her medical records and were fired. What would stop government officals from peaking into your medical history. Remember Joe the Plumber and an average citizen who challenged Obama. His personal records were breached by a public official and he was slandered all over the place. Oh yeah and Alex Rodriguez and his govt sealed drug test results that were leaked and no one knows by who. If this is what America wants, this is what America will get.

Are you kidding me?

Oh the misinformed... A large medical practice (smaller than the hospital) with say 50 providers in a paper system would need 10 medical record staff (with benefits) at a cost of almost $300k per year. Once all medical records are scanned, administrative staff may electronically from a number of programs fax medical records (under HIPAA guidelines) in a matter of seconds. Coding can be integrated into many software platforms as well. If you replace three coders that is an additional savings of $225k per year. If you have ten departments you could be able to drop one staff person per department whcih would save another $350k per year.. $875,000 per year savings minus $250k per year software - Where do you see the negative financial aspect of this? Not to mention the added security of your healthcare, billing, and personal information not being all over paper all over the world.. And you see disavdantages to this? Can you explain how this makes things worse?

re: are you kidding me?

This may sound good when you speak of saving money, but it doesn't if you're the staff member getting laid off as a result of it. I guess there is no need to fear, if they loose their job, the government will take care of them.

Govt Control

The financial benefits are definitely there, but at what cost to your personal privacy when the control of that information is under the strong arm of the government.