Electronic Health Records are a facet of healthcare that are finally being widely accepted. A mid-2013 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services noted that over half of the doctors in the U.S. were using EHRs. This is good news for the mobile healthcare realm, as mobile healthcare technology often makes use of EHRs. There are still health professionals, however, who have not adopted EHR use, and EHRs can also leave patients with concerning questions. What is it that makes an Electronic Health Record a necessity in the healthcare world today? First of all, health records are the backbone of effective healthcare. Without patient history, health professionals are unable to have a framework within which to work diagnostically. Past treatments are also missing, which prevents physicians from knowing exactly what works with the patient’s system. Without health records, physicians are flying completely blind. Usually a patients primary care physician will keep their chart, with all the records of their visits and treatments with that PCP. If the patient has to visit a specialist or a different physician, they are then responsible for providing their new doctor with their entire medical history. For some patients, this is brief and simple, but for many patients that history involves multiple treatments and/or diagnoses that they might not fully understand. Patients rarely have full access to their health records, though often this is simply because they do not request access.
With EHRs, all of this messy record keeping is cleaned up, and secure access is available simplistically to all of the patient’s physicians, and often to the patient themselves. With Electronic Health Records, an up-to-date account of all the patient’s diagnoses and treatments, a fact which can often prevent repetition of an allergic reaction to a certain treatment, or provide a quicker and more accurate diagnosis based on past clues. EHRs provide unity and collaboration in the medical world, which in turn leads to a greater volume of discovery and innovation. EHRs also provide a more secure backup for the medical history of patients, as they can be saved in multiple places, including cloud-based servers, instead of being just one copy in a physical location, subject to erosion of time and natural disaster. The main concern from patients at this point with EHRs is their security capabilities. HealthIT.gov has a whole section of their website dedicated to EHR security regulations and resources. Security of patient history is taken very seriously, and patients have nothing to fear with regards to EHR safety. With EHRs being so widely used, EHR security technology has kept up, and is efficient and powerful.
EHRs are important to the advancement of mobile healthcare. As EHRs are growing, so mobile healthcare apps have more abilities and resources to draw from. Connectivity to the patient’s health record is a common facet and requirement for mHealth apps. Those physicians and practices that have not yet adopted EHR use should reconsider, and patients whose doctors are turning to EHRs should feel confident and excited at the upgrade in care capabilities. Technology of the future is among us, and healthcare especially should not linger in the past.