A recent article in The New York Times addresses an unexpected benefit of electronic health records – the ability to help catch and manage epidemics in real time.
After reviewing data from local hospitals, public health departments have indicated that diseases like influenza, tuberculosis, AIDS, syphilis and asthma might be on the rise, and this also includes outbreaks such as E. coli.
Previously with paper medical records, it could take months - if at all - to find out an infection was becoming more common or that tainted food appeared in grocery stores. However, with the growing prevalence of electronic medical records, health departments are able to spot and fight outbreaks with unprecedented speed.
In February, health officials in Michigan noticed an increase in electronic reports from clinical laboratories indicating E. coli cases in several counties. In less than a week, officials knew the infection was linked to clover sprouts in food at the Jimmy John’s sandwich chain. The public and the restaurant chain were quickly made aware of the issue, and the 11-state outbreak was soon resolved.
Electronic health records help health officials zero in on issues and outbreaks faster. Doctors who use our Perfect Care EHR help contribute to this increased knowledge. All data that is recorded continuously from hospitals and other medical facilities is then reviewed by health departments.
This is just one more reason to take a closer look at electronic health records. Call us today to get started.