Parents—Technology is on Your Side
Nothing matters more to a parent than the wellbeing of their child. It is often the parent who coordinates school attendance, trips to daycare, and all aspects of their child’s health. Now, technology is on a parent’s side in the form of the electronic health record, or EHR.
The EHR is more than an electronic version of a paper chart. It assists physicians in collecting, evaluating and documenting information regarding your child’s medical care via a computer.
The EHR has many benefits compared to the traditional system of paper charts. It is easier for physicians to access the medical records both from within the office and outside the office. EHR accurately retains and retrieves information that might otherwise be lost or forgotten in a paper chart. Physicians can transmit clinical information easily and efficiently to consultants and specialists who collaborate in your child’s care. In other words, EHR provides physicians and patients with the information that they need, when and where they need it, so that they can optimize a plan of care.
A child’s medical records need to be readily available and transferable. In most states, they are not allowed to enter school, camp, or childcare unless it can be proved that all immunization requirements are met and physical exams are current. The responsibility often falls on the parent to keep centralized records regarding these matters. An EHR can assist in coordinating this care. With the EHR, your child’s healthcare provider can fax the necessary information directly to the school nurse or camp supervisor through this secure computer system.
When a child is sick and needs medication, picking up the prescription is often easier said than done. Parents have to bring their sick child in to the pharmacy, help them in and out of the car, drop off the prescription and wait for it to be filled.
Not anymore. The EHR offers an e-prescribing tool that allows physicians to prescribe medications and fax them directly to the pharmacy of choice via a computer, so that the prescription is ready when you get there. Furthermore, this electronic system helps eliminate the risk of misinterpretation that may result with illegible handwriting. It also features drug interaction and allergy checking to alert clinicians if a medication they are prescribing could cause a problem. The entire process is faster than using a script pad and reduces the need for pharmacy call backs, saving time for physicians and their patients. It also eliminates much of the hassle for parents.
Another feature of the EHR is the “Health Management Plan,” or HMP. The HMP helps physicians and patients to monitor and respond to recommended procedures for health maintenance and disease management. Alerts are created when an HMP item is due or overdue, alerting clinicians to clinically significant events, such as an immunization, vision and hearing tests, or relevant lab studies. With this feature, important elements of the care plan are neither forgotten nor overlooked.
The importance of monitoring the multiple immunizations of a child has been emphasized this year. In January 2008, the NYS Department of Health instituted the Immunization Registry Law. This law requires health care providers to report all immunizations administered for patients less than 19 years of age, along with the child’s immunizations histories, to the Department of Health’s statewide electronic immunization registry. The EHR offers assistance in complying with a complex vaccination schedule and in communicating these results to the necessary parties to comply with this legislation. The future goal of the EHR system is to load these immunization records directly into this registry.
Children require regular medical attention to ensure adequate development and growth. Talk to your doctor about your child’s plan for good health. You and your physician have a new tool to help document and monitor your child’s progress – the Electronic Health Record. Take advantage of it!
Community Care Physicians, PC is a multispecialty medical group in the Capital Region, with over 35 locations and more than 200 providers in four counties. Call 782-3700 for more information or for help in finding a doctor.
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