In a field as demanding as healthcare, certain mistakes are inevitable, particularly while recording patient data. One of the most effective ways to counteract this is to have patients assess their own records and become more involved in their care.

Inaccurate data, errors in medication and dosage, and omitted personal information can quickly be caught and corrected by patients themselves. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), 78% of office-based physicians used electronic health records in 2013, and this statistic continues to grow.

Using EMRs, physicians are able to provide patients with direct online access to their records, making information easily available for review. As corrections are made, physicians will be able to stay updated on vital information that may otherwise have been missed.

Encouraging patients to engage in reviewing their records is a clever preventive measure and can aid in averting many of the following common errors that are often seen in medical records:

  • Medication: Which drugs a patient is taking in order to make sure that incompatible medications are not prescribed.
  • Allergies: As long as physicians are aware of drug allergies, severe reactions can easily be avoided by prescribing alternative medications.
  • Dosage: In some cases, a lower or higher dosage could produce extreme results.
  • Lab Results: The latest labs may not always be updated in the records and could result in inaccurate treatment.
  • Symptoms: Omission of patient-reported symptomatic details could cause the physician to misdiagnose the patient.

One of the primary benefits of active patient involvement in their own medical care is that it promotes health and wellness habits and educates patients on how to maintain them. As they become more informed, they will be able to better care for themselves. As for physician incentives, requirements for Meaningful Use stipulate that physicians should provide patients with their records and that the patients must use them in order for the requirement to be satisfied.

Implementing this approach nationwide could be a key in decreasing medical costs, producing better patient outcomes. On the physician’s side, it can help avoid oversight of critical or even minor conditions. The overall goal is to do everything possible to enhance the healthcare system.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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