Improves Patient Outcomes, Reduces Costs, and Creates Jobs.

We live and work in a digital information age. Every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization through 2003, according to Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. When it comes to digitizing medical information, the key concern is the protection of data.

Medical Records

Improving Patient Outcomes

Digitizing medical records improves patient outcomes. First and foremost, electronic health records protect data from being lost. Important test results and X-rays can spend a lifetime in storage or they can be a click away. Such easy access helps medical professionals track the progression of a disease while eliminating unnecessary and duplicate testing.

People see many different doctors over the course of their lives. This means that patients often spend time at each new doctor’s office filling out their medical history and possibly repeating routine tests just because they have a new doctor. With digital medical records, medical professionals gain access to a patient’s entire medical history within seconds. Medical professionals can spend more time treating and less time charting, benefiting patients and physicians alike.

Reducing Medical Costs and Errors

Streamlining the patient care process leads to higher quality and more cost-effective healthcare. When doctors have a complete medical history on digital file, it offers a distinct advantage to the patient’s quality of care. A comprehensive digital record allows for search and analysis in ways that disjointed paper files never can, providing the possibility of improved patient diagnosis and reducing the likelihood for medical errors. Avoiding those errors and duplication of medical tests are two of the ways that electronic medical records can help reduce costs.

Beyond improving patient outcomes and reducing costs, electronic medical records offer data-driven advantages for practitioners in the medical field. By reviewing large numbers of medical files (without compromising patient identity or violating HIPPA laws), leading healthcare professionals are in a strategic position to share research and identify trends—in real time.

The many benefits of electronic patient records explain the government’s campaign to encourage all medical professionals to employ this technology. Unfortunately, the number of people in the U.S. qualified to work in health informatics has not kept pace with the demand. Experts at the McKinsey Global Institute predict that by the year 2020, America may face a shortage of nearly two million technical and analytical professionals.

Creating Career Opportunities

Americans interested in advancing their education and upgrading their skills will find the land of opportunity has relocated to the digital realm. In light of government incentives to digitize medical records, the demand for highly skilled employees in the health informatics field has increased significantly, presenting strong career opportunities for those with the proper technological capabilities and the skills to manage the technology.

Accompanying the increase in digitizing medical records is a growing need for health informatics professionals to manage the IT systems that collect, process, and store medical data. Those interested in computer science may want to capitalize on this expanding opportunity by pursuing an advanced computer science degree, such as Boston University’s online master’s degree in computer information systems with a concentration in health informatics. Individuals who pursue this avenue are sure to enjoy higher job security and opportunities for advancement.

Information technology plays a critical role in the growing health care industry. While there are always reservations surrounding the use of any new technology, the benefits of digitizing medical records far outweigh the costs. With proper staff training and advanced software, electronic medical records can help improve the quality of patient outcomes and reduce the cost of health care. Professionals who want to be at the forefront of information technology can venture into the increasingly complex health care industry and play a crucial role in ensuring a healthy future for all.

Author Byline: Laura Mingo writes in the field of higher education. This article aims to offer career advice for university students in relation to IT and promotes the benefits of advanced study regarding a Boston University master’s in computer systems online.