From the pages of Healthcare IT News. Rumors about electronic medical records continue to persist, but one vendor is trying to separate the myths from the facts.
Practice Fusion, a San Francisco-based EMR developer has identified the top five worst EMR myths:
- EMRs are bad for “bedside manner.” Does a computer ruin the interaction between patients and doctors? The opposite is true, according to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report. The study found that EMRs help doctors have more information about the patient and contribute to better communication. A good EMR allows a doctor to spend more time with a patient and less with paperwork. Plus, patients can get real-time access to their own health records online through the doctor’s EMR system.
- You can’t teach old doctors new tricks. Although there is an initial learning curve during the EMR adoption process, an easy-to-use EMR can significantly improve workflows once an EMR is fully implemented. Older physicians often lead the charge for an EMR transition in order to prepare their practice for sale when they retire. Tools such as dictation software and customizable templates can help win over even the most technology-adverse docs.
- Only hospitals use EMRs. While EMRs are more common in large medical facilities such as hospitals, health technology is starting to sweep into smaller private practices. Private practice physicians deliver more than 80 percent of all care provided for uninsured patients and serve as the front-lines for primary care in the U.S. – so getting them to use technology that improves the quality of care is especially important.
- Having my data stored in an EMR is a security risk. Federal HIPAA regulations are very strict about who can see inside your chart and give your EMR records protection beyond what’s possible with paper charts. In order to open an electronic chart, a medical professional needs strict login permissions. The EMR system tracks each time your records are accessed and backs up data in a safe and secure way so that records are always available to you and your doctors when needed. Plus, Web-based EMR systems protect from disasters, floods, building fires, and tornadoes that could easily destroy paper records.
- EMRs are expensive. The final myth is actually true a lot of the time. Legacy EMR vendors still charge small medical practices $100,000 or more for software, with additional money spent on hardware and IT maintenance. However, new affordable EMR technology is emerging that is making it easier for small practices to join the technology transformation.