Digital records improve health care

Posted by Jessi Turnure

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Millions of health care records are now just a click away, and facilities across the country are seeing improvements in health care because of this.

According to the USA Today website, digital records reduce the duplication of tests and procedures, eliminate prescription errors, and provide patients with better access to their own health records.

More than 55 percent of the nation's health care providers and more than 80 percent of hospitals now have electronic records.

"We're gonna reach a day where it will be very difficult to practice medicine as a physician and do it on paper," NEA Baptist Clinic CEO Darrell King said.

King said the clinic went digital about ten years ago.

He said the switch is better for doctors. "Instead of having things in eight different pieces, it all comes together in that electronic record. So it really gives them better tools to help diagnose and treat."

King said the digital method also improves the patient's experience. "Don't have to go back to this doctor or that doctor and get a copy of this or that. They don't have to go bring the records with them. That's all available."

If you are worried about an all-digital method, King said they keep your information highly confidential. "The patient has to initiate that and give approval for that so it's very secure. It's not floating around out there in cyberspace where someone can easily access it."

King said the clinic will update their system in a year. "It'll have a patient portal where they can go directly and access their information, you know, without having to go to the physician's office."

King said they will also be able to exchange educational information with patients. "Instead of them just having to go on the Internet and figure something out through a Google search, we can push information to them that we think is good information, is accurate information, and help engage them."

King said if they still use paper documents, it would be a different story. "We would have had a big records room. Then we would have more places off site where you store records once they were obsolete, but still had to be retained by law. We would be behind the curve if that were the case. I'm glad we're ten years ahead of it because that puts us in a good position."

Going digital is part of a government incentive for health care facilities to receive payoffs through Obamacare. These caregivers will face penalties if they do not go digital by 2015.

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