Why Are Healthcare Providers Making the Switch to Digital?

By   |  April 28, 2014

According to recent figures provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the number of hospitals going digital has tripled since 2010. Even more hospitals and healthcare offices are estimated to make the switch this year.

Researchers believe that U.S. funding for health IT is the driving force behind the switch, as doctors have been awarded various tiers of monetary initiatives for taking all of their office's medical records digital.

To help healthcare professionals take the plunge to electronic medical records (EMR), President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Since then, hospitals and healthcare practices have gradually been converting from their traditional paper file records to EMR.

Physicians and medical practices that have not taken the first step to transferring their paper records to digital put themselves at risk of accruing fines, which they will then have to continue to pay every year until they transition their current paper records to electronic records.

Many of the practices and healthcare providers that have switched to EMR and electronic health records (EHR) note that the change has resulted in increased convenience and efficiency. Digital records allow doctors to have almost instant access to a patient's chart.

Furthermore, electronic records let one doctor quickly and securely send a patient's information to another practice or specialist in a safe, private way. This highly efficient form of patient data tracking allows for a patient's records to stay accurate and up-to-date, which is vital for matters such as vaccinations or health screenings.

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