In light of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s choice of a state-federal partnership for North Carolina’s health exchange, our state is on track to receive millions of dollars of federal funding for health care. One integral component to the future of health care is the use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). They have been shown to improve patient outcomes, cut costs, minimize error and reduce hospital readmissions in patients with varied health problems. But how they are implemented will be the difference between reaping these benefits and making an already handicapped health care system even more inefficient.
EHRs in their present incarnation are neither intuitive nor easily mastered. The current estimate is that it takes an individual three to five years to be proficient using EHRs. This is an unacceptable lag time.
In order for the medical community and patients to truly benefit from these systems, we need to rethink how health care resources are allocated. Providing infrastructure for EHRs is only the first step. For successful implementation, administrators and physicians need ongoing training and support.
We need to be asking our leaders to invest in what works. Supporting our medical community in health IT will make North Carolina a leader in the future of health care.