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Published On: Thu, Sep 15th, 2016

How Medical Records Improve Medical Practice Efficiency

Doctors need to have two basic skills: Medical competence and the ability to deal with patients. The latter is better known as bedside manner, and it has always been seen as a natural talent that some doctors are born with and others aren’t.

Of course, it’s much more complicated than that. There are a number of factors that figure into a doctor’s perceived bedside manner. Perhaps one of the most underappreciated ones is their ability to get up to speed on the patient’s situation during the limited time available for an office visit.

Getting a rapid understanding of what a patient’s history includes and what work has already been done to treat him or her is critical to getting a doctor in position to take action quickly. When a doctor is able to get that information in a format that is easy to understand and review, the visit goes much more smoothly.

Image/CDC

Image/CDC

For decades, it was hard to do that. Records were smudged, dog-eared papers that were out of order and difficult to review, and the doctor lost considerable time trying to make sense of them. If a patient moved to a new city and saw a new doctor, everything had to be transferred by mail.

Of course, that has changed now. With healthcare practice software, records are neatly, efficiently, and accurately processed and stored by computers. The greater efficiency provided by these methods is not only making doctors better prepared for their patients, it’s also making the whole practice run more smoothly.

One important benefit is the efficiency of appointment management. Patients like to be seen as close as possible to the expected time, and they like being able to adjust their appointment time if something comes up. When the process is electronically managed, these accommodations can be made.

We’ve already looked at the benefits of electronic practice management in terms of having doctors prepared for appointments, but this advantage goes both ways.

Patients are less stressed during visits because they don’t have to recite a litany of medical history, medications, surgeries, allergies, and so forth. They don’t have to try to remember when they were last seen by the cardiologist, pulmonologist, oncologist, or dermatologist. Everything is readily accessible and accurately recorded. Minimizing patient anxiety is much easier when they aren’t stressed about having to remember a lot of important information. That leads to greater patient satisfaction and better treatment.

It also creates better information, because a less-anxious patient is less likely to experience “white coat hypertension“, a condition in which a patient’s blood pressure rises just before it’s measured because the patient is nervous about the appointment.

The best thing about modern medicine is that it is able to assimilate all the various information generated by the patient’s history, treatments, test results, and much more. The only problem with gathering all this information is that it must all be managed. The old hard-copy system of handling everything on paper would be impossible with the amount of information available today, and managing a practice would be more complicated as a result.

The good news is that electronic management of patients and practices can intervene and reduce the complexity of managing so much information. The result is a full picture of a patient’s health and a better outcome for treatment.

Author: Jimmy Simond

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