The national health care debate is focused on giving more American citizens affordable access to doctors and hospitals. Yet the vast majority of health care decisions are made by individuals instead of health care providers, whether those decisions are about an exercise regime or the management of diabetes. The answer to improving the health of our nation while curbing costs is to help people make more educated decisions about their own health. An ideal solution would be to combine personal data with health information to deliver custom health plans to individuals. Using electronic health records to actively engage patients in their own care results may improve overall health, especially concerning a leading health issue in the U.S., diabetes.
An estimated 16 million Americans suffer from diabetes. It is also estimated that diabetes-related medical expenditures in the U.S. topped $ 116 billion in 2007. An improved health care system for diabetes patients may not only save money and time, but lives and limbs as well. A recent study by the Geisinger Health System and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine did, in fact, show improvements for most diabetic patients when electronic medical records were used.
The use of electronic medical records to actively engage diabetic patients in their own care resulted in improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels, better vaccination compliance and increased tobacco cessation rates, according to the Geisinger study. The study conducted by Geisinger Health System launched the electronic medical record-driven program with its 20,000 diabetes patients. The study showed improvements for most patients in the following areas:
• Pneumonia vaccinations received among patients increased from 56 to 80 percent.
Microalbumin tests for possible kidney complications among patients increased from 57 to 87 percent.
• Optimal cholesterol levels among patients increased from 54 to 57 percent.
• Documented non-smokers among patients increased from 77 to 82 percent.
As a part of the study, Geisinger developed a series of nine “best practice” guidelines when caring for diabetes patients. Many of those guidelines rely on electronic medical records. The electronic medical records automatically generate reminders to make sure patients receive their timely blood tests and vaccinations. Electronic medical records also allow patients and doctors to immediately review lab results and provide instant feedback to physicians concerning the health of their patients.
“This approach shows the importance of incorporating information technology directly into patient care,” Geisinger Medical Director of Performance Improvement Frederick Bloom, MD said. “These tools can be used by patients at home and doctors in clinics and the result is better overall patient health.”
The implementation of electronic medical records has shown through studies that they may provide improved quality to diabetic health care by actively engaging patients in their own results. For more information about electronic health record systems and how they may improve the quality health care of your practice, contact e-MDs, a leader in electronic medical record software provision. e-MDs offers a host of affordable solutions for physicians and facilities looking to modernize or enhance their services with the latest EHR/EMR technology. e-MDs is committed to providing affordable and integrated EHR and Practice Management Software solutions, including clinical, financial and document management modules designed to automate medical practice processes and chart management – delivering the clinical tools needed to succeed in today’s healthcare environment.
Ethan Luke. Electronic Health Records– secure your electronic health records with e-MDs.