Electronic Medical Records Enhance Health Communication

Health Minute

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Technology is showing up everywhere in our lives and can be intimidating or even overwhelming. Electronic Medical Records can make your life easier when it comes to your health and communicating with your doctor.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are changing the future of health care.

Premier HealthNet (PHN) physicians use a system called Epic to provide a technology that places a patient’s entire medical history on one electronic record. PHN chose Epic because it is a hospital-based electronic medical record solution designed for hospitals, and is currently a top-ranked system.

Each PHN physician can access individual records and update a patient’s medical information, providing seamless communication between health care providers. “Using Epic, health care is much more patient-centered,” said Dr. Walter Reiling, a Premier Health (Premier) ambassador for EMRs. “By eliminating the paperwork, we can spend more time focusing on the patients’ needs, instead of tracking down background information.”

Epic eliminates the need for repetition of tests and it allows for more streamlined care by reducing the number of phone calls and follow-ups for patients. Epic gives the doctor a complete and thorough outline of a patient’s medical history. It also provides a safer environment for medical records, as all information is stored in a single, secure location.

“There is a legitimate concern about the privacy and security of electronic medical records,” said Dr. Barry McCorkle, a Premier ambassador for EMRs. “I like to compare Epic’s level of safety to that of an online banking system—precautions are taken that our patients’ information remains secure.”

Epic has also proven to be a useful tool for the patient, as they can be more involved in their own health care. Using a service called MyChart, patients are able to schedule, change or cancel appointments, order prescriptions and access their medical information 24/7 on the Internet. Patients can also review their medical history, test results, appointments, and send secure messages to physicians. There is even a customer service line if you have an issue with the website.

While this technology may seem complicated, physicians say people who use services like online banking or shopping will find MyChart valuable and easy-to-use.  All you need is access to a computer, internet access and an email address. For older adults or young children who are not able to use the program, proxy access can be granted to another person on a patient’s behalf. Children older than 13 can have access to their own account.

“MyChart empowers patients to know what is on their record,” said Mikki Clancy, chief information officer at Premier Health Partners. “Patients can now make more informed decisions about their health care.”

Electronic medical records will first and foremost impact the way patients experience health care but are also changing the way Premier HealthNet physicians provide care.

Epic and MyChart are technologies that are ever-changing and improving. “The electronic medical record system is entirely changing the face of health care services,” said Clancy.

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