EHRs Will Help Doctors, Eventually

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Three hospital systems in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Washington received positive results when patients were granted online access to their health records. Some of the benefits for the patients included improved understanding of their health, taking better care of themselves, and becoming more regular with their medications. This initiative did not significantly affect physicians' workloads, as only 3% spent more time answering patients' questions outside of visits and 11% spent more time editing notes. EHRs are shifting to web-based technologies such as the cloud to allow organizations store and access data and programs over the Internet. This will allow EHRs to be more mobile-friendly and flexible. However, some believe that the healthcare industry is too focused on meeting regulatory requirements, such as Meaningful Use, that it is failing to create innovative and flexible software.

The healthcare industry is definitely seeing a trend in increased connectivity. Wearable technologies are not just targeting patients but also physicians. For example, Drchrono has made a provider-facing Apple Watch to complement its iPhone and tablet apps. It allows physicians to view a patient's information, respond to patient's messages, and refill medications.

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Caroline Smith is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame and is a contributor to Medical Groups. She is majoring in Science-Business and Spanish. After graduation, Caroline plans on entering the field of healthcare consulting. She is most interested in the evolving policy changes in the healthcare industry and enjoys learning about new technologies that are being developed.