In a world where paper is becoming obsolete, it only makes sense that medical records become digital too. Not only do electronic records provide faster, easier communication between doctors and other care providers, they also provide a single source of up-to-date information on a patient’s history, test results, physician notes, medications and more. Many EMRs also include what’s referred to as a “patient portal,” which allows physicians to communicate with patients as well.
Sean McKenna, MD, assistant professor of general pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, says that while parents take in a lot of information about their child’s health during a half hour appointment, many leave with questions on their minds. Dr. McKenna is working to build a secure, efficient way to communicate with patients electronically. In fact, the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU has a goal to become a fully integrated, electronic facility.This is great news for parents. Parents will be able to access their child’s medical records from home, and they can view what was discussed at each appointment, including dietary restrictions, prescriptions, activity limitations, lab tests or radiology studies that are needed. The online medical record allows parents to update their pediatrician on how their child felt after the appointment, whether medications are working and other updates. In many instances, parents can email the pediatrician with any further concerns.In addition, Dr. McKenna is advancing the development of patient registries. A patient registry aggregates data on patients with similar symptoms or medical needs to give pediatric specialists greater insight into best practices for improving care and outcomes.“This technology helps pediatricians and parents collaborate to help kids get better and stay healthy,” said Dr. McKenna. “It strengthens the parent-physician relationship even outside the four walls of the doctor’s office.”