According to a lengthy and detailed report from the Washington Post, it seems that despite the benefits and incentives an electronic health record system could bring to a hospital or clinic, doctors are refusing to let go of their pen and paper systems. Electronic health records allow doctors to easily and quickly look up patient information, as well as access their history in a matter of seconds. There’s no need to look through folders of papers and cards that might or might not have been misplaced, and let’s not forget, medical records can be easily shared/transferred from one hospital to another. If a patient is allergic to something, doctors would be able to know right away, despite it being the patient’s first visit to that particular clinic. The improvements over traditional paper systems are tremendous – but mostly for the patients and insurance companies. Doctor’s don’t stand to benefit much from such a change, according to some of them.
A change wouldn’t be simple to implement. In addition, doctors would need to digitize their whole library of health records, and then get around to learning the new system as well as training their staff to do the same. This means working with a whole new system, and forking out money in the process. Because of this, a lot of doctors are unwilling to undergo such changes, especially the older ones who feel that they’ll just be wasting a lot of time and money. While there are valid points on both sides of the fence, it’s always good to see technology helping out in everyday life. I’m no doctor but in this case I think doctors should be more willing to sacrifice their archaic ways (and some money) to be part of the change for a greater good. What do you think?