By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When electronic medical records were first introduced several years ago, many doctors were fearful of the idea of trusting computers with patient information or sending prescriptions directly to the pharmacists.
The road has definitely not been easy, the costs are skyrocketing and compared to other businesses like banking and entertainment, the computer technology is relatively crude – but there are advantages.
Electronic prescribing has helped limit mistakes caused by bad penmanship. Studies can be performed looking at entire subsets of patients allowing evidence to be used and limiting personal preference based on limited number of patients seen.
Don’t get me wrong – many of the government-led initiatives have little to do with improving care and more to do with cost containment and the gathering of data, but left to their own devices, physicians and other health care providers are starting to find ways to improve care and things will improve.