Electronic Medical Records: Love Them or Hate Them?

Image: photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently read a classmate’s post about how she prefers to have a pediatrician who uses electronic medical records (EMR). I thought this was an interesting idea, and a great way to track your medical history. I imagine it’s especially useful when you’re tracking your child’s vaccinations and other milestones.

But my doctor doesn’t use them, and it’s not something I hear about often. I’m not alone – a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that only 14% of them were able to access their medical records electronically.

Here’s why: Doctor’s don’t exactly love them. A survey released in February found that while the overall favorable rating for EMRs held steady at 77%, more detailed responses showed doctors were more skeptical about digitized records. Results also showed that doctors didn’t feel that EMRs helped reduce medical errors, improve efficiency or lower costs. Physicians also felt that EMRs slowed them down and were not worth the financial investment.

Another survey whose results were announced last week found that doctors felt there were multiple barriers to using EMRs. Key issued involved were productivity and financial concerns. Among doctors who had begun using EMRs, there seemed to be a lack of preparedness, with most saying they underestimated the amount of training that would be needed.

There seem to be many issues that need to be resolved before more doctors consider using EMRs. But it definitely seems like they can be a beneficial thing. While the jury was still out on whether EMR users felt an increase in their productivity, nearly 72 percent of those who used EMRs said they were satisfied with their overall system.

Image: photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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