Electronic health record adoption continues to rise in physicians efforts to convert from hand written doctors notes to electronic records. The goal remains the same – improve efficiency and cut costs. Recently a disappointing report published last week by RAND Corporation reported that electronic health records may be raising the nation’s medical bills.
However, the report neglected a very important and powerful incentive that the switch to EHRs has provided – electronic health records are a gold mine for medical research. The stored data and the access to endless amounts of research, monitoring and analysis have the potential to equal one big clinical trial where every patient is a participant. Access to electronic medical records gives doctors the ability to skip expensive clinical trials and use data scored to pinpoint treatments, look at trends, and review side effects from other cases.
Medical discoveries in the past have been based on hunches or educated guesses, electronic records give the ability to see statistical merit. Doctors are now able to follow up on hunches and compare previous recorded data. Through checking data already collected, doctors can sidestep clinical trials and overpriced medical research.
The clinical trials and time-consuming research is not just going to go away, but through electronic medical records and electronic health records, knowledge available is broadened beyond what doctors had before.