EMRs and Healing Rates: Is There a Correlation?
EMRs often require clinicians to fill out several details on their patient.
An increasing number of clinics and medical practices have made the move to electronic medical records (EMRs) – the Affordable Care Act actually requires that all U.S. patients have an EMR at some point in 2015. Many clinicians have gotten over any initial learning curves and now find the documentation process to be more in line with their needs, leaving less room for error, better access to data for wider wound care analysis and better care options, as well as providing patients with better access to their health care details.
A 2010 study conducted around EMR use and diabetic patients with lower extremity wounds at the New York University Langone Medical Center found that the effective use of EMRs helps reduce the likelihood that patients will need an amputation due to wound complications.
Dr. Jason Maggi reported that EMRs allowed all personnel working with patients who had diabetic foot ulcers more coordinated care.
“The significance of this EMR is that it integrates quantitative measures [such as] healing rates and other relevant clinical data in real time,” explained Dr. Maggi during a presentation at the American College of Surgeons 96th Annual Clinical Congress. “The significance of this EMR is that it integrates quantitative measures [such as] healing rates and other relevant clinical data in real time. This is currently done with an automated alert system to all clinicians involved in a patient’s care.”
Through the use of charts that centralized all of the patient’s information, different clinicians were able to more readily see relationships between the conditions and symptoms a patient exuded, and create a more holistic healing plan. The EMR that was used at Langone Medical Center is also connected to the mobile devices of clinicians and health care personnel, so alerts immediately go off if a patient’s condition becomes unstable.
New Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations require that EMRs allow for patient access, which means that individuals can now look at their medical health records in as much detail as their physicians. In addition to providing a level of transparency, EMRs that provide patient access allow patients to become more active participants in their health care – as more informed “consumers” for how their infected toe is treated or which alginate dressing has been most effective in the past, patients can better communicate their preferences in their current and future care.
Although some early EMRs were plagued with issues stemming from lack of interoperability – many records that were written in one database were inaccessible when moved to another platform – today, EMRs mainly decrease errors rather than hinder the health care process.
For example, most electronic medical records require clinicians to fill out all portions of the records, so it is difficult (if not impossible) for a clinician to accidentally miss an important detail of the patient’s wound healing status.