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Advanced Medical Records Technology Reduces ER Time, Improves Care

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 Ohio 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.

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