Thursday, June 9, 2011

Electronic Medical Records: Put Them in ‘The Cloud’

There is a lot of twitter ‘n’ talk in the techie world about storing and retrieving data of all kinds from “the cloud.” That’s tech speak for the Internet or cyberspace, in case you didn’t already know. I like the term; it’s so ethereal.

The experts are predicting that eventually hard drives will become redundant and that all the information in the world, including music, movies and videos, will be tucked away in some “heavenly” location where we’ll be able to retrieve it from any place that offers Internet access.

So what about medical records?

I think the cloud is the perfect place for them.

My dream electronic health records system is Internet-based. This means the records are accessible to any provider or patient at any time from any location with wi-fi or smart phone capability. And I’m talking about all records – lab reports, X-rays, cardiograms, op reports, hospital and office records, living will and/or power-of-attorney and anything else that you want to include in your records.

All of this would come with super security, of course, but how great would it be to have everything available at the click of a mouse to whomever might need it?

There actually are a few health systems that offer Internet-based records. It took getting used to, according to those whom I interviewed. For instance, some physicians balked at the idea of patients having access to anything in their records, but the doctors eventually got accustomed to it. (Legally, the records belong to the patient anyway, and are always available upon request.)

And for the chronically ill who may have multiple providers, Internet-based records are a godsend, according to a patient I interviewed in 2009 who was part of a pilot program conducted by a large hospital in New York City. Once her records were on the Internet, she was thrilled to forego dragging papers from one doctor’s office to another, or hoping that one office sends the records to another. She no longer undergoes duplicate tests, and her doctors can always instantly find out which tests have been completed and which results are pending. For the first time, this patient felt that all her physicians were on the same page.

Medical records stored in the cloud could also eliminate the problem of non-compatible computer systems.

There are days when I feel as though I’m barely surviving when it comes to electronic technology. If just one of my electronic gadgets doesn’t work (computer, cell phone, high-def television, digital camera, digital clock, digital radio, MP3 player, microwave or Kindle), I feel like someone is out to get me.

But when everything works, it’s heaven.

What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of electronic medical records?

Are the electronic medical records in your workplace user friendly?

How do you feel about Internet-based medical records? Could they offer advantages for some types of situations that you face?

Tell us about it.


Ken said...

1)The advantage of EMR, it is easily accessible with the system. It also give room for minimal medication or documentation error.
2)The EMR at the VA system are very user friendly. As soon as you lock in user name and password, the patient information can easily be obtained by using their social security number or scanning their wrist bracelets. Everything from Labs, radiography to consultation is avalaible to be seen by the nurse or the provider.
3)Internet base medical records could be a great tool for the 21st century in that vpatient records, labs, consultation and radiology results can easily be found in the internet.
Ye, it could offer significant advantages in that the internet can easily be browse at any location that have a wireless connection.

Dr Hulda Clark said...

Thank you For sharing such a nice post here.. I would like to tell you that, you have shared a very informative blog post.. it is helpful for Electronic Medical Records..thank you for the post..

crneprep said...

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and work in the area of psychiatric nursing. We have actually been using electronic health records for the last several years, and I have found them beneficial for several reasons.
1. all physician orders are inputted into EHR, so accessing a patients medications is easy and helps reduce subsequent medication errors.
2. reading progress notes for a patient is more efficiently done. A person is able to read progress or changes in a patients medical condition very easily, without having to interpret or misinterpret a persons handwriting. Once again there is less of chance for error or misinterpretation.
3. Services between units and hospitals are streamlined and made more efficient. I can access a patients CBC result through a click of the mouse, as can the physician, at the same time! No need to wait for the patients chart to document while someone else reads it or uses it during report.
4. Once again, a reduction in medication errors. Pharmacy accesses all medication orders through EHR, as do physicians and nurses. It keeps things simple and clear.
5. A nurse or doctor is able to access the medical history of a person from 2 years ago for example. This is definitely conducive to planning an effective plan of care.

Disadvantages are few in my opinion and easily overcome. Lots of the older nurses and doctors have a difficult time adjusting to using the computer, especially if they do not have a habit of doing so. I have seen a few doctors completely refuse to document into the computer, until being forced to in the end. Through proper guidance and a helpful IT department this problem is easily overcome. With time things resolve themselves, and people develop the confidence to use EHR. You can always email me at
Your blog is very interesting and I will be back!!!

E'Louise Ondash said...

Thank you for reading and commenting on the blog. If we were taking a poll, I think most medical personnel would be in favor of EHR. One older doctor told me he's glad they are being implemented within his 100+ doctor group because it forces him to learn new things. it gets frustrating once in a while, but also has so many more advantages. I've found that many nurses and doctors like being able to log into the EHR systems from home. they'd rather finish the days work from their home than sit in the office. The ability to access records from off site is also a tremendous benefit to on-call nurses and physicians.

Anonymous said...

God know what else they are looking at? As a practice owner, they are many things that is internal to my business. I am deleting my free account.

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