Physicians use paid-for solutions and free EMR software to qualify for federal incentives, but do these systems benefit patient care?
If you have taken your child to the doctor lately, you may have noticed a difference in how the physician’s practice handles patient records. This is because pediatricians, like many primary care physicians, are switching to electronic medical records (EMR) in order to qualify for federal incentives.
There are many types of EMRs – from free EMR software and cloud-based services to pricier systems wholly owned by the provider. Whatever your child’s pediatrician uses, the most important thing is that you and your child feel comfortable with the charting process and that you understand how it can both positively and negatively affect your child’s health.
In order for the doctor to provide the best care possible, it is important for you to offer as much information as possible. The more details contained within the child’s health record, the better. For example, if your child takes any medications on a regular basis (even if it is something over-the-counter), be sure to tell the pediatrician so that they can enter it into the patient’s chart. The same goes for any food or drug allergies that could potentially react adversely to other medications.
It can also be interesting for parents to learn about the features and capabilities that are unique to EMR software and that are helping physicians improve their patients’ care. If your child’s pediatrician is using an EMR and you do not fully understand the charting process, feel free to ask them to explain or to show you what they are doing.