Electronic Health Records Benefit the Patient, the Physician, and the Medical Community

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 6052

LEAWOOD, Kan. — In a small- or medium-sized medical practice, an electronic health record (EHR) system is the “central nervous system” for clinical patient management. Via computer, Internet and personal data assistant (PDA), EHR systems help physicians and staff members view, chart and interact with patients’ health information in a timely and accurate manner.

EHRs are essential to increasing the quality of health care and improving patient safety. The benefits of EHRs range from information integration to increased efficiency of clinical processes. These benefits impact patients, physicians and the medical community as a whole:

  • Patients – EHRs give health care providers the tools they need to ensure patients receive the most timely, appropriate and efficient medical care possible, therefore reducing medical errors and duplication of services. These tools include drug information, patient history, clinical guidelines and screening recommendations. EHRs increase screening and preventive care and reduce complications, including drug errors.
  • Physicians – Physician offices that incorporate EHR systems into their daily practice are able to integrate health information, clinical knowledge and patient resources at the office-based point of care. All of this information is housed in an EHR. Evidence-based guidelines can be rapidly incorporated, along with recommendations and guidelines as they are issued.
  • Medical Community – Transactions between the office-based environment and other sources of health information, such as pharmacies and laboratories, are efficient and secure with EHRs.

As the health care industry and the general population move toward a largely electronic era of communication, the use of modern health technology, such as electronic health records, is essential to the future of medicine.

The American Academy of Family Physicians is spearheading a movement to make EHRs the standard method of medical record systems communication by working with the best and most innovative health care technology companies to create a breakthrough in the adoption of EHRs in family physicians’ offices. The AAFP is the only medical organization to aggressively address the need for and drive the development and adoption of EHRs.

The health and well-being of a patient is a physician’s first concern. EHRs enable the physician and the medical community as a whole to improve the quality and efficiency of care for each patient.

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org(familydoctor.org).