Electronic Medical Records, or EMR, are supposed to take over from paper based medical record keeping. The idea is to have a centralized digital file containing a variety of medical information about an individual, such as treatment histories, test results, X-rays and more. The hope is that over time, a more complete picture of a patient’s overall health will become visible. This in turn will, hopefully, decrease medical errors, adverse drug reactions, and redundant testing, to name a few benefits that have been cited in the literature.
President-elect Obama has stated that EMR will be one of the crucial planks in health care reform. This opens the floodgates for software vendors to race a product to market. There are already many established EMR software vendors, but as pressure is brought to bear on the medical establishment to step up adoption efforts, the opportunity to sell a new product will seem to present itself.
A caveat: this type of software must have the tightest security, must adhere to several standards such as HIPAA, must be simple to use, interoperable, and as inexpensive as possible. Big order.
To meet the challenge, strict incident management will be vital. The Sleeping Giant Awakens.