Doctor Using a TabletIn our new digital age, just about everything you could possibly want can be found online. You can go on a date, shop, or locate long lost relatives, all without leaving the comfort of your favorite chair.

If you do a quick search of your own name, you may be surprised by the vast amount of information, including photos and personal details that anyone can learn about you with just a click of the ‘Enter’ key. Doing this might also lead you to wonder about the possibilities of electronic health records and how this may affect you.

What information can be obtained from electronic health records?

You can think of electronic health records like a medical chart or that ever-present folder your doctor’s office pulls out every time you go in for a procedure, check-up, or test. It is a complete chronicle of your entire medical history, listing every exam, diagnosis, laboratory test, illness, allergic reaction, x-ray, prescription, and treatment recommendation you have ever had.

Electronic health records will also go a step further to include doctor’s note and updates on any medical situations you are experiencing. To keep things effortless, they will also comprise clerical information such as billing and contact notifications.

What are the advantages of electronic health records?

Today, we are performing more tasks electronically than ever before. It seems like everyone is constantly online and connected to everything via the slew of portable devices that didn’t even exist just a few years ago, but now many of us feel we can’t live without. Now it is actually commonplace to receive critical information in digital format, such as business deals, important family updates, and medical diagnoses.

Professionals like attorneys, teachers, and physicians often use technology as their preferred method of communication. As a result, advances like electronic health records are an idea whose time has come.

With electronic health records, the old ways of calling your doctor for an appointment, spending up to an hour in the waiting room, and then ten minutes in the examination room just to get a prescription may become a thing of the past. If you have ever been stuck trying to get test results or other critical information when a doctor is out of the office or on vacation, you will immediately understand the improvements that are possible from using electronic health records, where your physician can respond and provide updates for you at anytime.

The benefit of electronic health records will allow your physician, pharmacist, or even a specialist to review your condition, past treatments, and medical history with the touch of a button, and without having to wait for records to be sent from another office or facility. This means that they will have crucial information at their fingertips so quick diagnoses and decisions about the best treatment options can occur in a more timely fashion.

In addition, dangerous or deadly drug interactions that can happen from multiple doctors ordering different medications for a variety of ailments suffered by just one person are less likely when all the pertinent information is available in one place. Tens of thousands of people die each year because of such mistakes.

You will no longer have to explain your situation or repeat the series of events that require medical attention every time you see another doctor. Therefore, if you have been seeing your primary physician for years and then need a rheumatologist or cardiologist for new problems, your information will go with you wherever you need it.

Since there should be a lot less waiting, double-checking, and redundant counsel with the help of electronic health records, doctors may be able to see more patients, connect with them easier, and provide better care.

The information contained in electronic health records will be available for anyone who needs it, such as emergency medical technicians, out-of-state hospitals, and your child’s school. Perhaps the best part about electronic health records is that, unlike those folders in your doctor’s office, you as the patient are able to access the same information around the clock on your electronic devices.

Currently, there are numerous hospitals and healthcare providers all over the country that use electronic health records as their normal operating procedures. Now, thanks to a government program that grants incentives to those who use them, more doctors and facilities are adopting the technology.

Is it possible to opt out of having electronic health records?

Of course, nothing is perfect and there may be some disadvantages to an electronic health records system. Proponents worry that it will lead to less face time with medical personnel. Many people have concerns about the safety and security of having all their medical information online and at the mercy of hackers or others with unknown motives.

Some have also questioned whether it will be possible to opt out of the program and prevent their information from becoming a part of the online health records network. Right now, you may be able to do so temporarily, but if your healthcare provider or insurance company goes electronic, chances are your information will too.