Part III: Electronic Medical Records
by KYW’s Brad Segall
Under the federal stimulus bill and the new health care laws, patients may start to see those paper folders with their medical records disappear from their doctors’ offices as technology – will a little help from government – moves the process forward.
The goal is to take the paper records off the shelves and move the information to the computer.
One of the companies doing just that is Advanced Data Systems, a medical software provider which started thirty years ago with practice management programs and has evolved into e-health records management.
Regional director Gene Spirito says that Washington is creating huge incentives for doctors to automate:
“They’re giving a maximum of $44,000 per physician in order to fund the purchase of an electronic health record (system).”
But only about five to ten percent have done it so far. Spirito says the long-term goal is to get every doctor’s office online:
“The HR (health record) will assist in terms of writing tests: it helps order the right tests, it helps them with recalls on the tests, it helps with a follow-up that needs to be done. Based on diagnosis, the system will alert the physician so patients won’t fall through the cracks with follow-up care.”
And down the road, he says, the plan is for a national database with clinical information:
“A patient, no matter where they are in the world, no matter what physician they are seeing, that physician will have full access to all the patient’s notes, all the patient’s history, all the patients diagnoses, medications, so a patient doesn’t need to remember anything. All that information will be at the fingertips of any physician in the world.”