Electronic Medical Records Have Proven Their Worth

System leads to fewer unnecessary tests, fewer medical errors, and better communication
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- The electronic medical record system that has been used by the Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities since the mid-1980s has proven to be a useful way to reduce costs and errors and improve hands-off communication in the surgical setting, according to an article published in the April issue of the AORN Journal.

Jacqueline A. Roeder, R.N., of the Alaska VA Healthcare System and Regional Office in Anchorage, writes that the Veterans Affairs Health Administration, comprising 23,816,000 eligible clients and the largest health care provider worldwide, uses electronic medical records in its 153 hospitals, 731 outpatient clinics, and 135 nursing homes.

The system enables all medical professionals involved in a patients' care to access well-organized patient records across multiple locations, and offsets initially high costs at the implementation stage with savings over time, the author notes.

"Electronic accessibility of patient information by all health care professionals, cost savings, increased patient satisfaction, and improved patient safety translates into better, more efficient health care for all Americans," the author concludes. "It is a change to our traditional way of documenting the care we give our patients, but change is in the air. Perioperative clinicians should embrace it and use it to its full potential in providing high-quality patient care."

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