Under the HITECH Act, individual physicians and small medical facility managers who can illustrate "meaningful use" through their deployment of electronic medical records software are eligible for thousands of dollars in federal funding.
While this is one reason EMR adoption will likely continue to grow through 2015 – the year when physicians who've failed to make the shift will begin seeing reductions in their Medicare payouts – many in the healthcare sector are concerned with the usefulness of EMR software in the field.
Addressing these concerns, a recent study by Jeph Herrin and David Ballard of the HealthTexas Provider Network (a subsidiary of Baylor Health Care System in Texas) illustrated that EMR can improve the level of care patients with type 2 diabetes receive.
In total, the researchers studied more than 14,000 diabetes patients over a four-year period, according to Health Services Research, the official journal of nonpartisan health research and policy organization, AcademyHealth. Ultimately, Herrin and his associates found that facilities with EMR software saw the variables they used to measure diabetes management increase by 60 percent, when they compared the data to that of facilities without this type of tool.
Findings show that digital record systems remind doctors to inquire about diabetic symptoms even for patients coming in to seek treatment for unrelated symptoms or procedures.
"This study offers evidence and reassurance that switching to electronic medical records isn't going to hurt patients and may in fact help them," Herrin told the news source.
However, it is notable that 40 percent of the variables examined showed no improvement, illustrating space for upward development in the digital healthcare field.
As such, the results of the study indicate that it would be useful for facility managers to employ a certified third-party consulting service who can aid in the EMR installation, implementation and training processes and ensure the technology is being used to its full potential.
Microwize Technology is a leading healthcare IT consultant offering products such as electronic medical records software and medical billing software from top providers like Allscripts and McKesson, including McKesson's Medisoft, Lytec and Practice Choice products.