The Real Long Term Benefits of Broad EMR Adoption

Do we really know the true benefits of EMR or can we not find them out until we have them implemented?

This is a question which has been on my mind a lot lately as I’ve been reading and writing about Obama and EMR.  There have been so many different studies describing the effectiveness of electronic medical records.  Some show the amazing benefits of an EMR.  Others have shown that electronic medical records aren’t everything we hoped they’d be.

As I think about these two differing opinions, I can’t help but think that we probably don’t know the benefits that can come from having broad EMR adoption.

Certainly many studies and those interested in EMR have evaluated the fiscal and clinical benefits of an EMR.  I just can’t help but wonder if we won’t be able to understand and measure the benefits of EMR until broad EMR adoption occurs.

Just think of a few simple things we could do so much better with aggregating EMR data:

  • Disease Tracking and Outbreaks
  • Drug Effectiveness
  • Drug Side Effects
  • Health Trends
  • Detialed Past Family/Medical History

I’m sure this list is inadequate in expressing my feeling that a broad adoption of EMR will open up a world of data that was previously stuck in the depths of a paper chart.