The Value of Clinically Organized Medical Records

eHealth Technologies blog: Michelle Donowsky, RT(T), Director of Clinical Optimization, eHealth Technologies

As I travel the US and meet physicians with varying needs across multiple specialties, there is one common frustration that they all share; How can I quickly find the medical information I need to properly prepare for a patient visit when it’s buried in the vast sea of poorly organized and rarely labeled outside patient records?! 

For specialists, it can be a struggle in and of itself gaining access to critical patient information located across multiple facilities prior to a patient visit – medical records, images, pathology slides, etc. When or if the information is finally delivered – it is a tangled web of paper, faxes, and poorly labeled records within the outside records tab of the EMR, making it nearly impossible to extract what’s most relevant to the patient’s case.

Most interoperable mechanisms require physicians to go out of their regular workflow to review medical records from external systems. Providers have to hunt through stacks of papers or click and scroll their way through an electronic record to get to the information they need. This adds hours a day to their already full schedule. It’s no wonder that, according to the American Journal of Medicine, physician burnout has increased from 45.5% to 54.4% between 2011 and 2014.

That’s why our focus at eHealth Technologies is not only on retrieving a complete medical record, but also delivering that information in a clinically organized format. Being able to review a compiled record that contains no duplicates, is text-searchable and sorted into relevant medical document categories can save hours of record review time. Delivery of that data directly into their system can also reduce the time burden on clinicians and support staff. Providers can be well-prepared for a patient’s first appointment much more quickly.

Think about the impact that can have on a physician’s ability to focus on patient care and their treatment plan, how they can better engage with a patient, and the extremely positive experience that patient will have with the provider.

These are priceless benefits of making sure clinical teams have a complete medical record that is organized in a way that makes relevant information more easily accessible. As an industry, we can’t lose sight of the workflow implications that come with interoperability. Access to data is important, but how that data is delivered and presented is just as critical.