That's starting to change thanks to efforts undertaken in 2009 to begin standardization of electronic record-keeping within the healthcare industry. The federal government did its part to begin encouraging the adoption of electronic records by including significant funding in the stimulus package to help defray the costs of hospitals and medical facilities making the transition. And although adoption of electronic records is still slower than many would like, it is progressing. In the world of the ED and emergency medical jobs, the transition cannot come soon enough.
Delays in Care
At the core of the electronic record issue in the emergency department is the fact that a lack of patient records can often delay treatment. Of course, no emergency medicine doctor would forgo a life-saving procedure while waiting for paperwork to arrive, but once a patient is out of immediate danger treatments are often delayed while the emergency room staff waits for patient records to be faxed over from the doctor's office. If a patient should be admitted to the ED in the middle of the night it could be 8 to 10 hours before the hospital receives appropriate documentation.
Emergency medicine jobs would be made so much easier and more efficient if the hospital ED would convert to electronic records. But the hospital is not alone. Primary care physicians, specialists, and clinics all need to adopt the same electronic system in order for it to work as intended. When fully implemented, healthcare facilities could share patient information with just the click of a button. Imagine how much more quickly and efficiently treatment could be dispensed in the ER.
One of the concerns of adopting widespread electronic medical records is that of personal security. In order for all this to work properly, records need to be stored on a centralized database which can be accessed by all of the facilities on the system. Understandably, patients are concerned that their personal information could fall into the hands of those who would use it improperly. Therefore, in order to get the system fully implemented across the board certain security measures need to be developed.
Emergency medicine jobs are tough enough without having to deal with the inefficiency of paper record keeping. Change is tough, we know that. But as individual hospital EDs are making the transition to electronic records they are quickly realizing all the benefits. Let's hope the adoption rate of electronic record-keeping increases in the coming years.