By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Has your doctor started using electronic medical records? You may or may not know if he has but if you see a computer in the examination room or he or she is carrying around a tablet, the odds are electronic medical records are being used.

A growing number of physicians are turning in this direction and it is not an accident. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act put in place by President Obama, physicians are being encouraged to turn to electronic records. Those who do it relatively rapidly may be rewarded with incentives. Everyone who does not will be penalized with fees. So right now many doctors are scrambling to put those records in place.

The good news is that there will be a detailed accounting of your health history and the hope is that you will have easier access to your medical information. Of course one of the major concerns is that bad information stays where it belongs and is not released to anyone else.

One final advantage is that we will have statistics and information about large populations of people and this should help us to make medical decisions based on real facts and trends.

Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio

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