It's the future of medicine.
And, as of the writing of this article, it's also the law. The Affordable Care Act stipulates, "The new law will institute a series of changes to standardize billing and requires health plans to begin adopting and implementing rules for the secure, confidential, electronic exchange of health information. Using electronic health records will reduce paperwork and administrative burdens, cut costs, reduce medical errors and most importantly, improve the quality of care."
You have control and ownership of your own medical history.
It's your health, your body, your test results, right? You SHOULD have access to this information when you need it (and even when you don't). Whether you're traveling in another state (or country) and you get sick, you're in the emergency room with a broken arm, or you're meeting a new specialist for the first time, easy access to your health history is essential to a quality outcome
Electronic medical records save time in the short term and save money in the long term.
Having your information all in one secure place that you—and your doctors—can easily access saves everyone time. But EMRs will also save money, since they eliminate redundancies. For example, if you change doctors or hospitals and you don't have access to your medical history, you might undergo the same tests or procedures. This is a waste of time, money, and resources.
EMRs encourage you and your doctors to work as partners.
You both have access to the same information, making it much easier to have a dialogue regarding your health. You can look at the same info your doctor is looking at and ask questions, discuss implications, and plan accordingly.
EMRs are safer.
Paper medical records can easily fall victim to natural disasters and human mistakes (spilled coffee, anyone?). They're easier to lose as well. Electronic medical records, on the other hand, live securely in the cloud and undergo regular backups. Yes, you'll hear plenty of griping right now as healthcare practices and hospitals transition from paper to electronic records. But once most practices and institutions are up and running on EMRs, we'll all experience the many benefits.
But don't just take our word for it.
Watch what two concierge MDs have to say about electronic medical records.