Health information technology improves patient care, saves time and decreases medical errors. National Health Information Technology Week, held Sept. 16-20, offers time for healthcare consumers to learn about how HIT can help.
An electronic health record, or EHR, can let a doctor send and receive health information about a patient over the internet. The doctor can share information with other doctors, as well as with hospitals, labs and drugstores.
Using an EHR can save time because patients doesn't have to fill out their health history over and over, and health history will be easy to get to in an emergency.
An EHR eliminates mistakes caused by hard-to-read handwriting. Also, an EHR can automatically check to make sure the drugs the patient is taking are not harmful when taken with other drugs. And, the record can tell doctors when it’s time for patients to get tests and shots, such as yearly flu shots.
Under a government program, Quality Insights of Delaware serves as the Regional Extension Center for the state. Its team of HIT experts works with healthcare providers to help them choose and use electronic health records.
“The Delaware Regional Extension & Assistance Center for HIT is helping more than 1,500 providers maximize their electronic health records to take better care of their patients,” said Beth Schindele, Delaware REC executive director. “We are seeing so many benefits for patients, and we want to help patients understand how health information technology can help them.”
Delaware REC offers a free patient guidebook, Electronic Health Records: What You Need to Know. Visit www.dehitrec.org/Pages/Patient-Resources.aspx to download the free guidebook. Patients and their families may also visit www.qide.org and click on Medicare Consumers to download more free resources.
Quality Insights of Delaware, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, protects Medicare patient rights and works collaboratively with hospitals and other healthcare providers in Delaware to assist them in their efforts to improve the quality of the care they deliver. It supports primary healthcare providers on EHR adoption and meaningful use. To learn more about EHR adoption, meaningful use and other areas of health IT, go to www.dehitrec.org or call 1-866-475-9669, Ext. 4010.