AS we observe National Information Technology week in West Virginia, let's take pride in the ongoing efforts to transition from paper medical records to electronic ones.
Nearly every hospital and rural health center and 1,000 plus health care providers across our state have made the transition to Electronic Health Records. This is a significant undertaking and designed to improve patient care, enhance safety and reduce medical errors.
It also lays the foundation for the ultimate goal - electronic exchange of a patient's health data and records.
All of these health professionals, clinics and hospitals have recognized the potential of electronic records, known in the office as EHRs, to provide better patient care, minimize medical errors, and eliminate duplicate screenings and tests. For patients, widespread use of electronic health records means:
The use of EHRs also can enhance routine medical care by reminding a primary care doctor about the timing of appropriate preventive services for a patient's general well-being or about specific issues related to managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.
With more doctors and hospitals having electronic medical data, work also is progressing on the system that is allowing the secure sharing of patient data via the state's new health information exchange.