14-26 of 50 Reasons to get an EHR or EMR – Better Care Management and Better Prescribing

Posted on July 1, 2006 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In my continuing review of an article in Medical Economics that had a list of 50 reasons to get an EMR or EHR. In this post I’ll cover number 14-26 that talk about better care management and better prescribing because of an EMR.

Better care management

14. Track pending orders for lab tests and diagnostic imaging—those that are long overdue may signal lost reports or patient noncompliance.

15. Receive automatic reminders in the exam room when a patient is due for preventive or disease-management services.

16. Link to evidence-based guidelines for diagnosing and treating conditions as you talk to the patient.

17. Quickly produce a list of all female patients over 21 who haven’t had a Pap test in the past three years (or any time frame you choose, based on age and type of Pap test). Then ask these patients to make an appointment.

18. Print patient handouts in the exam room.

19. Print a copy of the progress note and give it to the patient at the end of the visit. Or put his entire record on a mini “thumb” drive that he can take home.

20. Provide consulting physicians with a list of lab results and current medications by e-mailing or faxing the data directly from the computer.

This section is really hard to quantify because it really depends a lot on which EMR you are using. Plus, many of the points imply that an EMR will make you a better doctor and thus implies that you are a bad doctor. I’m sure that most people would certainly agree that a computer has a better memory than a person (doctor). They would also probably admit that most doctors do an excellent job remembering how to treat most medical conditions. However, most doctors don’t want to admit that their care would be better if they had a computer reminding them of certain things. And in many cases they are right. So, I really don’t think any of the care pieces should be added to a list of reasons to get an EHR or EMR.

I do however agree that a recall system for pap smear tests for a certain time period and age group is a great feature. In fact, many other recalls and disease tracking are great espescially when they are integrated with some sort of automated email or patient portal. I also love the ability to communicate with patients and other consulting physicians directly from an EMR using email or fax. I do think their description of printing patient handouts is outdated and should say print or email patient handouts.

Better prescribing

21. Spend less time talking to pharmacists with questions about what you’ve written.

22. Fax prescriptions from your computer to the pharmacy instead of handing them to patients, who might lose or alter them.

23. Reissue prescriptions with a few mouse clicks.

24. Reduce the number of prescribing mistakes by receiving electronic alerts on drug interactions, allergies, and other situations where you should exercise caution.

25. Identify all your patients who are taking a recalled drug within minutes.

26. Verify compliance with insurance-company formularies incorporated into the EHR.

Amen to the printed prescriptions and saving paper by faxing prescriptions. I think pharmacists should get to the point that they won’t accept written prescriptions. I’m sure this solves many “transcription” errors. Drug to drug and drug to allergy interactions can literally help save lives. Just make sure it is a well designed system so that it doesn’t show too much and make you stop looking at it or too little so that it misses something important.

There you go. 12 more reasons to get an EHR or EMR.

Here’s the first 13 reasons to get an EHR or EMR if you missed them.