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Editorial Spotlight | Jun 2015

Advantages of Being an EHR User

Storing and accessing medical records are space- and time-consuming activities for any ophthalmic practice. These tasks are especially demanding in high-volume clinics, in which a designated area may be required to store paper charts and valuable hours may be consumed locating and providing them to each physician every day.

For these reasons, we decided to adopt an electronic health record (EHR) system. We have been using this software for 8 years and have experienced a long track record of success with virtually no problems.

In our experience, the transition to EHR was smooth, with a short learning curve for the staff and doctors. Initially, paper records and exams for existing patients were added electronically as they were scheduled for new appointments; thus, the conversion process was done gradually rather than rushing to convert all of the numerous paper charts on file. There were huge savings in time and space at our practice because these paper charts, once converted to digital, were discarded. New patients were added directly into the EHR system without ever starting a paper record.

USES AND ADVANTAGES

Most EHR systems have the capacity to manage patient history data as well as information about diseases, codes, and financial control tools. The valuable financial tools built into our software help our administrative team provide homogeneous information across all databases.

The greatest benefit of EHR, in our opinion, is the complete control we have over our patients’ data. The vendor we work with offers client-server software, meaning that the software is installed on our practice computers, giving us complete independence from an Internet connection. At the end of each workday, an automatic backup of all data to the cloud is performed; an Internet connection is required for this process, which has never been a problem in our experience.

Consequently, we have access to all patient data remotely whenever needed. This is especially helpful if patients call when we are out of the office and we have to check on their medications or prescriptions. Moreover, we no longer need to carry paper charts to the operating room, as all data are available online. Detailed information about all planned procedures can be accessed through the EHR system, reducing the potential for misunderstandings.

CONCLUSION

There are many kinds of EHR systems developed for a range of needs, from a small, specialized practice to a large multispeciality center with multiple doctors. The best way to start the EHR adoption process is to research and determine which interface will best serve your practice’s needs.

The expansion of the EHR segment is a reality, and surgeons should consider adopting this software into their practices; its advantages are abundant and its learning curve short.

Daniela M.V. Marques, MD, PhD
• Medical Director, Marques Eye Institute, São Paulo, Brazil
• Medical Collaborator, Research Department of the Cataract Sector, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
dradaniela@marqueseye.com.br
• Financial disclosure: None

Frederico F. Marques, MD, PhD
• Medical Director, Marques Eye Institute, São Paulo, Brazil
• Medical Collaborator, Research Department of the Cataract Sector, Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil
drfrederico@marqueseye.com.br
• Financial disclosure: None

 

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