What are Electronic Health Records?
Electronic health records are a computerized way of managing health information and communication in health care. Electronic vs. paper records improve documentation and the safety of a patient’s pertinent records. Experts say they reduce errors, carelessness and frustration.
Why Are We Converting to This Now?
President Obama signed into law Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) with a goal of having Americans have access to electronic health records by 2014. You may have heard that physicians receive “incentives” from the government to do this…. this is true, and it is also true that the cost to do this is about double what physicians receive from the government. In addition, if physicians do not comply, the government will begin to cut their Medicare payments more than they have already, in the year 2014.
What Can We, As Patients, Expect?
As a result of our embracing this regulation, you will notice that we are asking more questions on our Patient Registration and Health History forms. We are required to collect this information by the 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. For example, we are required to ask your ethnicity and race. If you feel the questions are too invasive then please use the “Patient Declined” or “Unknown”.
You may also notice that some questions may not be directly related to your orthopaedic, podiatric or musculoskeletal system. The majority of your health history is pertinent to your orthopaedic condition. A few questions may not appear applicable to your care. Again, we are required to at least ask you these questions and to collect the information. Please feel free to answer the questions with “Patient Declined” or similar answer if you object to the question.
Now for the good news!
Our Electronic Health Record (EHR) has many new features including patient portal access, electronic medication prescribing, allergy alerts and other patient protection features.
• We will soon be offering you the ability to see your electronic medical record summary via the internet. This is why we are collecting your email address.
• Electronic Prescribing – sends non-narcotic prescriptions directly to your pharmacy of choice. Your prescription should be waiting for you at the pharmacy.
• Medication and Allergy Alerts – if you have a known allergy or medication allergy our EHR will check your new prescriptions against your known allergies and notify your doctor or pharmacist so your prescription can be changed to a safer alternative.
• Thanks for your patience during the implementation of these new mandates and changes.