The Government’s vision to create a Health Information Exchange (HIE) has the potential to provide a comprehensive patient history at the point of care. In addition to this data exchange, Internet and “meaningful use” of electronic health records will have a positive and significant impact on the delivery of healthcare and its associated costs. This new arrangement will improve the collaboration among providers and health facilities. The integrated medical groups like Kaiser Permanente, the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are extensively utilizing technology to improve access. These big groups are combining doctors, clinics, hospitals and often some insurance and capturing the financial savings from electronic health records.
However, despite all the benefits, adoption of technology is slow in most of the small practices. It is surely a change in “status-quo”, and as such small practices do not get financial incentives to use computerized medical records and for some practices it is very time consuming process to convert paper records into electronic records.
“And there are privacy and patient centered concerns as well” said Dr. Donald Tavakoli; a Philadelphia based Psychiatrist. “Obviously for psychiatrists, mental health issues and therapy notes raise a major concern of “discoverability” and differ from the rest of medicine (at least in some people’s minds). Not to mention, typing with a patient in front of you, which happens a lot with electronic systems, takes away from the doctor patient relationship. On the other hand, legibility, access to records, and streamlining for billing purposes can increase efficiency and decrease redundancy in testing etc.”
Dr. Tavakoli said “technology being incorporated into practice is a good thing as it increases access (as DocAsap proves), increases efficiency, and decreases risk of errors. And at the end of the day, it is inevitability. Increasingly, I’m hearing about things like Ipad’s being considered as notepads for clinicians, which could offer simply touch screen checklist items to mark off during evaluations, this not only reduces medical error but healthcare costs as well. And it is possible increased technology and Electronic record systems dovetails with increased “checklist” medicine. The big concern is that in healthcare, sometimes the art of medicine can have immeasurable value, and the doctor patient relationship is crucial (and mental healthcare tops that list, especially with psychotherapy, but it is true in all of medicine).”
Please check Dr. Tavakoli’s profile at DocAsap