Monday, March 16, 2009

The Role of Technology in Medicine

If you’ve been to the office since last June, you have seen the doctors and nurses entering your child’s health exam into electronic medical records software. This transition has enabled us to send your prescriptions to your local or mail order pharmacy immediately. Labcorp and Quest Lab results are now returned electronically and CDH labs will be electronic in the near future. Immunization records can be printed out at the touch of a button.

Only 10% of hospitals and providers’ offices are currently using electronic medical records (EMR). With President Obama’s healthcare initiatives, you will see in the coming years more and more healthcare providers using this technology. The Obama administration has given a timeline that all healthcare records are to be electronic by 2014.

So, how will this affect you? In many ways! You will not have to make a trip to the office to pick up most prescriptions or lab requisitions. Pharmacists will be able to have clarity on prescriptions. Specialists will have referrals electronically, saving phone calls and written orders. Lab results and specialist consults will go right into your record and held for the provider to review.

As with most changes in life, there is resistance to learning a new way. Some practices still use typewriters! Many physicians see technology as an encumbrance because they’ve spent a lifetime of writing in charts. Fortunately, we are ahead of the game. Documents are readily available without having to pull charts, copy records by hand, or hunt through a myriad of pages in the chart.

In the Tuesday, March 10th edition of the New York Times’ letters to the editor, some physicians gave their opinion on this new initiative. Dr. Shoshara’s opinion was published and we thought we’d share his letter with you.

To the Editor:

Dr. Anne Armstrong-Coben presents her experience in adapting to electronic medical records as a cautionary tale, proscribing an open embrace of the computer in the doctor-patient relationship.

Is it too much to expect that physicians who continually educate themselves on the latest medical treatments also integrate the latest improvements in delivering that care? I have found that my last year with electronic medical records in my practice has been a step forward for the health of my patients.

Maintaining the doctor-patient relationship required adaptation to technology, not submission to it.

Jihad Shoshara, M.D.


Usha S. said...

I am so very impressed and am so glad that my kids are patients at PHA.

Melanie P. said...

Awesome! Thank you sharing and we feel great that we have selected a pediatric office that believes in not only the best physicians, but also the best in quality practices for it's patients.

Glad to know you are ahead of the game. Keep up the great work.