There is no question that electronic health records (EHRs) make billing and the other administrative duties of a medical clinic much easier, but it is also becoming very apparent that they improve patient safety as well. In the orthopedic area, this is quickly becoming more and more common place. Research shows that 94% of doctors who use EHRs report that patient records are easier to access at the point of care. Additionally, 88% believe that their EHR greatly benefits their practice, while 75% feel that their EHR makes it possible for them to provide better patient care. This is a strong case for EHRs in orthopedic practices.
Aggregate data ensures better patient outcomes.
The goal for any medical professional is to provide the best care possible to their patient. Many physicians believe that their EHRs have helped them avoid error. In fact, a 2013 study, by the National Ambulatory Medical Care Physician Workflow Survey had some interesting findings:
- 70% – believe that the lab reminders and medication alerts on their EHR were instrumental in preventing potential harm to a patient
- 45% -reported that a medication alert, a key element of their EHR, had helped avert a potentially serious medication error
- 47% – felt positive toward their EHR and felt that certain features helped them provide improved preventative care to their patients
A study by the Carnegie Mellon University Living Analytics Research Centre found that adopting an EHR reduced adverse patient safety events by more than 25%. Additionally, there was a 30% decrease in negative medication events, and a 25% decrease in events or complications that come from procedures, treatments, or tests.
Patient engagement tools give patients control over their health.
Good patient engagement has a positive impact on their ability to heal and how they maintain positive, best case, outcomes. A patient portal is a good example of this because it allows the patient to check their records, schedule an appointment, and pay on their bill, all in one place. Orthopedic patients tend to have X-rays, MRIs, and other types of imaging which can be difficult to mail, fax, or transport from one area to the next. Instead of driving across town to deliver diagnostic material or waiting on the mail to carry it to the patient, they can simply release them. This gives patients a certain degree of control over their own condition. In orthopedics, this is especially true. A patient who is being treated for an injury can manage certain aspects of their own care and this will greatly improve their potential for a positive outcome.
Enhanced communication capabilities allow for sharing of information.
The enhanced communications of EHRs allow doctors and specialists to communicate, often in real time. This means that patient information can be moved quickly from one office to another while doctors confer about a patient. Information sharing is vital for optimal care. If a patient goes to your orthopedic office and then has to go to another doctor or specialist, it is much easier with the EHR because the records follow you. Basically, if the patient has to go to their general practitioner or to another specialist, all of their medical information travels with them. Some medical conditions interfere with some orthopedic treatments. If a patient has an underlying condition, the information would be in their profile on the EHR and it can be managed by the physician before it becomes a problem.
Better communications means improved, stronger relationships.
Communication helps to build trust which helps to build relationships. Often, when a patient visits an orthopedic office it is due to some type of mobility problem. They have an injury or a condition that affects their ability to move naturally which can cause anxiety and fear. However, with the EHR software, the patient can see his or her chart and receive messages directly from the physician. This way, if the patient experiences a problem, he or she can contact the physician quickly. It also places a certain degree of responsibility in the hands of the patient for their own care.
EHRs can be greatly beneficial to orthopedic physicians and patients alike. It is well worth the investment to give patients a safer environment.