A Paperless Health-Care System: Going Green
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If you've ever seen a medical record of a hospitalized patient, you may very well wonder how the medical industry would ever make do without paper. The next time you're in your dental or doctor's office, take a look at the shelves of medical records and files that are maintained on every patient. You might notice that some folders are thin, while others may be several inches thick. How in the world can health-care system go paperless?
However, the health-care system is indeed striving to make headway toward electronic health records - the wave of the future. While such efforts have been underway since the year 2000, the effort to "go green" in the healthcare industry is like trying to convince Tyrannosaurus Rex to eat vegetables. Nevertheless, the effort to go paperless is making some small headway, especially behind the scenes. In many cases, doctor’s dictation has gone digital, replacing the need for medical transcriptionists from transferring digital audio file to paper. Instead, dictation is played back into voice activation software that automatically types the spoken word into an electronic format. Elsewhere, efforts are being made to create a paperless health-care system but it is going to be a very slow, arduous, and expensive process. One of the major concerns of going paperless is the issue of patient confidentiality and security.
California health insurance agents realize that their clients are concerned with the accessibility to health and medical records in a paperless health-care system. Individuals have also expressed concern regarding privacy and access to personal health data that is only stored in electronic files. Because of this, an electronic health data exchange must be able to ensure the public that privacy, confidentiality, security as well as the integrity of personal medical and health information.
California health insurance agents who speak to clients regarding the potential of electronic health records believe that most understand that the transition is inevitable. Today, more individuals use electronic technology to travel, pay bills, find information, and conduct research. Actually, nearly four out of five individuals who engaged in a survey regarding electronic health records believe that they may provide more accuracy, which would in turn enhance health care quality.
However, nine out of ten individuals questioned regarding paperless health records are extremely concerned over who has control over the health records as well as their privacy. Not so surprising to California health insurance agents, nearly two thirds of individuals questioned regarding the issue showed concern that an employer may be able to access his or her electronic medical records.
The future of medical health information and management will go digital, sooner or later. Getting there is going to be an arduous, complicated and oftentimes frustrating process. Equipment, training, and resources must be made available in order to ensure such a transition, as well as making sure that electronic health records are as consumer friendly as possible. Digital technology is here to stay, and eventually, medical and health records will go green. However, it's up to individuals to help ensure the confidentiality and security of their health records. Stay informed regarding your health-care system today, as well as tomorrow.
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