Your health records constitute one of the most important tools in your doctor’s arsenal. It would be almost impossible for your doctor to effectively treat you without knowing your past illnesses, medications, family history and allergies. Despite this, medical records are often a surprisingly disorganized and underutilized tool. There are numerous reasons for this, such as restrictive regulations and difficulty in accessing information. Luckily, there are also many ways that this process can improve.
There has never been a time in history where doctors have had more access to information regarding their patients. From drug interactions to past test results, the size of a typical patient health file is staggering. While this wealth of information is a positive trend, it also requires a more measured approach to be used effectively. One of the most powerful tools that a doctor can employ is data analytics. This allows third-party applications to dynamically assess and categorize information. Not only does this allow doctors to spot trends that they may otherwise have missed, but it allows access to information to be automated so that doctors can quickly find the information they need. Doctors should take advantage of apps that help them manage what data is most important at the moment.
From the perspective of a doctor, the amount of information available is both a blessing and a curse. Regardless of the crucial nature of many records, it is easy for doctors to become overwhelmed based upon the sheer volume of information that they must process and record. Thus, doctors need to delegate these duties to ensure an efficient outcome. The use of scribes and other assistants can streamline the data collection process to allow doctors to focus on what they do best.
In sharp contrast to the rest of the world, the medical industry has been surprisingly slow to adopt a digital footprint. In fact, the majority of medical records in the United States are still held only in paper versions. While the process of digitization has been slow, progress is being made. Slowly, both legislative regulations and hospitals themselves are beginning to favor digital recordkeeping. This improves clarity, speed, and transferability.
A doctor’s job is an exceedingly difficult and multifaceted task. In an ideal world, medical records should ease this strain rather than hinder it. Luckily, through a combined process of digitization and data analytics, this goal is finally becoming a reality.
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