Electronic Medical Records

Health Information Technology: the future of medicine

Dec 7, 2014
Community Eye Health / Flickr

With so much information being stored on the web today, it may come as a surprise that medical records have only recently begun the conversion into a digital format known as HIT, or Health Information Technology.  Like any big change, using electronic medical records poses many potential benefits and risks.

This week on “Take Care,” David Whitlinger discusses the factors involved in the switch from paper-based medical records to electronic medical records.  Whitlinger is executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative and former director of healthcare device standards and interoperability for the Intel Corporation’s digital health group.

A common sight in doctors’ offices is a huge wall filled with paper patient files. But there's a move in the medical world to ditch the paper and go electronic. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with David Whitlinger, executive director of the New York eHealth Collaborative about the benefits of electronic medical records.

Lorraine Rapp: What’s prompted the transition from a paper system to an electronic one?

Joanna Richards / NCPR

Hospitals have been working for years to digitize patient medical records, but now New York state is expanding a system to centralize the record-keeping of multiple hospitals.

A patient’s medical history may be in the computer at their primary care doctor’s office. And their records may be digitized at the hospital they’ve been treated at, "however, many of those systems can’t easily or fluently communicate with one another," said Dr. Rainu Kaushal, who chairs the Weill Cornell Medical College’s healthcare policy program.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Electronic medical records are becoming the norm at Syracuse-area hospitals. St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University each took milestone steps this month into the digital world.

Hospital staff and patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital have been using a computerized software system to track medical records since March. With Upstate’s Community Campus coming on board earlier this month, the teaching hospital in Syracuse now has fully implemented an electronic medical records system in all phases of care, according to hospital CEO John McCabe.

Patients, privacy and employers

May 26, 2013
Timmy Gunz / Flickr

Your employer is concerned about rising insurance costs and you don’t want to see your benefits slashed, so they ask you to participate in some medical tests and enroll in a wellness plan. If you and your fellow employees participate, you’ll qualify for discounts on your premium and deductible.

Is this an invasion of privacy? Where do these records go and who will see them? Will your colleagues know if you didn’t participate in the wellness program?

This week, “Take Care” interviews Dr. Deborah Peel, a physician, and a leading advocate for patients’ rights and the founder of Patient Privacy Rights, a bipartisan coalition for patient privacy. Dr. Peel says she understands the need to have healthy, happy employees but does not agree with what she calls the “short-sighted” solution.

Click "Read More" to hear our interview with Dr. Deborah Peel.

The state is one step closer to giving patients access to their medical information online. The New York e-Health Collaborative has announced nine finalists in their competition to design an online patient portal.

Eight companies will share in $4.2 million to help streamline patient care coordination and medical record sharing in New York state. The early-to-middle stage health IT companies will receive up to $300,000 each.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The records of outpatients at Upstate University Hospital are entering a new digital world.  The hospital has started installing a new electronic medical records program that will among other things, allow patients to access all their medical records on their computers or smartphones.  Hospital President Dr. David Smith says this is a transformational moment in medicine.