A new study shows that hospital emergency rooms with advanced electronic
medical records technology can diagnose and treat patients quicker than
those facilities still heavily reliant on paper records.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study by the W.P. Carey School
of Business at Arizona State University finds that if you go to an ER
at a hospital with fully digitized medical records, the total amount of
time you spend in the ER is likely to be 22 percent shorter than at ERs
with minimal or no digital records systems.

Treatment time at the digitized ERs is also likely to be decreased, researchers
say: expect a drop of 13 percent.

Partial Use of Advanced Tech May Slow ERs

The study made clear that at ERs with “fully functional” electronic
records systems, your waits are likely to be shorter, but at those hospitals
that have only partially incorporated new records technologies, the wait
can actually be longer than at those getting by with paper records. It
appears that dealing with two systems – one digital and one on paper
– may slow doctors, nurses and others down more than a single paper system.

Patients with urgent or semi-urgent medical problems found that their waits
at semi-digitized emergency rooms was more than 47 percent longer than
at those facilities with marginal or no digitization.

A Reason for Optimism

Michael Furukawa, author of the study and assistant professor at the Arizona
business school, told the Journal that he’s optimistic that electronic
records systems will, over time, improve the quality of care in ERS, as
well as reducing costs to both hospitals and consumers.

“If [hospital administrators and doctors] can agree on the technology
and how to use it, it can be successful,” Furukawa said.

Cutting Down on Medical Errors

The hope among health care advocates is that new technologies will help
hospitals keep better track of patients, their health histories, medications
they are taking, allergies, and similar factors crucial to quickly and
accurately diagnosing problems. The technologies can help doctors and
nurses avoid making preventable medical errors, including medication errors.

Patients who have suffered damages due to medical error or negligence by
a doctor, nurse or hospital should contact an Cleveland Medical Malpractice
attorney to discuss their circumstances. A medical malpractice lawyer
can assess the prospect of receiving compensation for medical costs, lost
wages and pain and suffering.