It is anticipated that the use of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) technology will have a major impact on the delivery of medical care in this country. The benefits achievable with effective EMR systems are apparent and desirable. Among other things, EMR systems promote timely access to patient clinical information. A clinician with access to a person's medical history and status, current medications, laboratory test results, and x-ray images is certainly better able to accurately and efficiently assess a patient. Knowledge of a patient's chronic illness in an emergency situation can be critical and even life-saving. The decision support functionality expected to be incorporated into EMR systems are anticipated to improve the efficiency of care by extending the knowledge and capabilities of a care provider. The use of EMR systems can be expected to result in an improved quality and a reduced cost of medical care.
Despite the apparent benefits of EMR systems, US healthcare organizations are making slow progress toward implementing EMR systems. According to the 1998 Health Information Management Systems (HIMSS) Leadership Survey only 2% of the respondents say their organizations have a fully operational EMR system in place. This statistic may change rapidly, however, since according to the same survey, 15% of respondents say that they have developed an EMR implementation plan and another 16% say that they have begun to install EMR hardware and software. Thus, approximately one-third of healthcare organizations have begun the process of implementing an EMR system in a trend that will likely accelerate. This presentation outlines ten predictions related to the future of medical record keeping and EMR technology.
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