Are you tired of the flu season yet? Well good news…it looks like the worst of it is over. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should stop washing your hands and put on shorts. The flu season usually lasts all of the way into the middle of spring. And even if you are able to get out of the season without a cough or sniffle, you’ll be sick again. Sadly, it’s a part of life.
The next time you go to the doctor or take your child for an immunization shot, take a look at how he records your blood pressure, weight and symptoms. Most likely, he’s not writing it down on the paper chart you’ve been so accustomed to for so many years. He’s most likely using an EHR vendor.
According to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, a publication devoted to the continued education of family physicians, family physicians are contacting EHR vendors more often than other outpatient physicians. In fact, as of 2011, nearly seventy percent of the family physicians in the country use EHR to manage their data (this is more than double what it was only five years before) , and this number should increase to over 80% by the end of 2013.
Although EHR is increasingly being used by all medical professionals, regardless of the field, family physicians have embraced the move to EHR much more quickly and in greater numbers. So why would this be the case?
- The biggest reason is money. Family physicians are asked to provide good care in the cheapest manner possible. In order for them to pull this off, they need to be efficient and have all of their information in one place to ensure expediency. EHR software allows doctors and staff to work on what matters as it streamlines many aspects of practice management. No longer is the staff or doctors bogged down with paperwork or delays. They can concern themselves with providing good care.
- On any given day, a doctor will see so many different problems come through the door. A family physician has to be versatile. In the morning, he might treat someone with a URI. In the afternoon, he might mend a broken finger. Finally, later in the day, it might be someone with the chicken pox. Because of the sheer volume and variety of illnesses and diseases they might have to treat, family physicians are more likely to need EHR to stay organized.
So these are two reasons why family physicians have jumped ahead. However, the most important thing to remember is that in all fields of medicine, professionals are using EHR records to care for their patients, which should hopefully bring with them better care and more efficiency.