Modern Health Information Technology (Health IT, or HIT) can make your interactions with the health care system more convenient, more reliable, and less time-consuming, freeing you to focus on your health instead of the everyday hassles of managing your health care.
Some examples include:
Faster, more accurate prescriptions
E-prescribing systems automatically send orders to the pharmacy for you so your medicine can be ready for pickup when you arrive, saving waiting time. E-prescribing can also reduce the potential medication errors such as those made by messy handwriting on a paper prescription.
Rapid information sharing
When a provider adds patient notes or test results to your EHR, that information may be available to all health care providers authorized to view your records, so they can have access to the most up to date information about your health. Some health care providers may allow you to access your own health information directly, meaning you no longer have to wait to hear back from your doctor for information such as test results that are normal and may not require an explanation.
As a patient, you have probably answered the same questions about personal information and medical history dozens of times on seemingly identical forms. When health care providers share your electronic health information, you may not need to write down the same facts repeatedly.
Reduced unnecessary tests
Doctors sometimes order tests that you’ve had before simply because they do not have easy access to prior results. If all your test results are recorded in EHRs that can talk to each other, a health care provider can see prior test results that are available and order only truly necessary tests and procedures, saving time, money, and discomfort while reducing risk.
Better follow-up, better follow-through
Many EHRs incorporate reminder systems for both you and your doctor. For example, some EHRs remind your doctor to follow up with you about ongoing health conditions or to offer you information or services in response to changes in your health. At the same time, some EHRs can send you email or text message reminders about making or keeping appointments, staying current with treatment and medications, and other ways to improve health.
Secure access to information
In the event of a natural disaster or other tragedy, having your records in an EHR should make it easier to reassemble your records, and to make them available to providers away from home in the event that you need to relocate temporarily or permanently. The Federal Government requires certified systems to meet security standards so that professionals and others you designate can see only the information they need in order to manage your care effectively; your State Government may require additional protections.